Suu Kyi wants India to do more for democracy | world | Hindustan Times
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Suu Kyi wants India to do more for democracy

The picture quality was awful, the audio broke frequently. But the message was clear: Myanmar wants to engage the world, needs India’s democracy and China’s continued friendship.

world Updated: Dec 02, 2011 00:30 IST
Yashwant Raj

The picture quality was awful, the audio broke frequently. But the message was clear: Myanmar wants to engage the world, needs India’s democracy and China’s continued friendship.

That was Aung San Suu Kyi within hours of US secretary Hillary Clinton landing there tacitly approving Myanmar’s recent reforms, however thin.

In a video interview Suu Kyi told an influential think tank Centre of Foreign Relations, she was cautiously optimistic of the current changes in Myanmar.

When asked what like India and China could do, what role, she said, “We would like India, being a democracy, to do more to promote democratic values in Burma.”

About China, she said just because they believed in a different political system doesn’t mean their should be any hostility between the two countries. They will be friendly neighbours.

While China has been the Myanmarese junta’s main backer, India has been trying to cultivate it cautiously, with an exchange of high-level visits over the last some years.

India also stood in the way of the US-backed moves to mount sanctions against Myanmar arguing successfully for engaging the junta, a stand now widely recognised here in Washington.

But many critics also though India was either abandoning Suu Kyi or distancing itself from her for tactical reasons after supporting her strenuously earlier. If Suu Kyi felt that way she didn’t show it.

In her first widely publicised interview after the recent changes, Suu Kyi sounded extremely optimistic of the changes being brought by the new Myanmarese president Thein Sein, also of the military junta but decidedly different.