India welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi’s release with a nuanced statement.
External affairs minister S M Krisha said, “I understand the Government of Myanmar has just released Madam Aung San Suu Kyi. The Government of India welcomes her release. We hope that this will be the beginning of the process of reconciliation in Myanmar.”
US President Barack Obama had urged India to do more against the violation of human rights in Myanmar. He was speaking in the context of US support of a UN Security Council seat for India.
Behind closed doors, New Delhi has long urged the Myanmar government to release Suu Kyi, even while declining to upbraid the junta publicly on the issue
The cautious way New Delhi has gone around welcoming the release underlines the geopolitics-dictated pragmatism that makes the military rulers in Myanmar important for India.
The 1,640 km-long boundary that abuts India’s north east states aside, Myanmar is under keen Chinese watch and is the first country in the east that is strategically located.
New Delhi and Myanmar have a very close relationship that cuts across many areas including security cooperation, which is important considering insurgents from north east use Myanmar as a hide-out.
During the last visit of Myanmar junta chief Senior General Than Shwe in July, Delhi pledged to provide $60 million in grant to build a road connecting Myanmar with Mizoram and $10 million to help boost their agriculture—a sector where Chinese imprints are considerable.