Suu Kyi in Delhi: India-Myanmar to strive for cooperation on security & trade

Sadiq Naqvi | First published: 19 October 2016, 23:08 IST
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visits India, meets PM Modi
PTI photo

Myanmar's most influential political leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, is in New Delhi on her first visit since her National League for Democracy came to power.

Suu Kyi, also the country's foreign minister, had chosen Beijing as her first destination. But now that she has come to India, the two countries have vowed to strive for more cooperation on security, trade and other aspects of the bilateral relationship.

In addition to the four MoUs signed during the visit of Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw in August, both sides signed three new MoUs today, in a bid to consolidate India's presence in the strategically important but oft-ignored neighbouring country.

"We have agreed that a close coordination to ensure security in the areas along our border, and sensitivity to each other's strategic interests, will serve the interests of both our countries," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the press after the meeting the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visits I
PTI photo
PM Narendra Modi greets Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in New Delhi.

The terror aspect

Suu Kyi condemned the terror attack on Indian Army personnel in Uri, and conveyed her deep condolences to the loved ones of those who lost their lives. Modi, meanwhile, "condemned the recent armed attacks against three border posts in the northern part of Rakhine state, and expressed his profound sympathy for the families of the policemen killed in the attacks," according to the joint statement released after the meet.

India's aggressive diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan also find resonance in the joint statement. "Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as all acts, methods and practices of terrorism wherever, by whomever, against whomsoever committed, and agreed that the fight against terrorism should target terrorists, hold to account terror organisations, networks and also States that encourage, support or finance terrorism in any way."

While the joint statement mentions that the fight against terrorism should target States encouraging, supporting and financing terror, Suu Kyi, in an interview to a newspaper, responding to India's diplomatic push against Pakistan on the question of terrorism, said: "Terrorism is rife all over the world, so I think it's terrorism we need to isolate and to eliminate. I do not like to think in terms of individuals or organisations or countries, although these come into the equation as well."

Continued diplomatic push

Suu Kyi's visit comes after a series of high-level contact between the two countries, including President Kyaw's visit to New Delhi in August, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's recent visit to Myanmar.

Prime Minister Modi had earlier met State Counsellor Suu Kyi on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos. NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, too, have kept Myanmar engaged with multiple visits.