Pranab says won't export democracy to Myanmar

Addressing a two-day security meet in Singapore, the Defence Minister said that it will not export its free society ideology to its neighbour.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 11:15 IST

India, hailed as the world's biggest democracy, will not export its free society ideology to neighbouring military-ruled Myanmar, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.

Mukherjee, addressing a two-day security conference, also said it will keep its hands off the peace process in Sri Lanka.

"It is not only a question of Myanmar, but in many other countries, there are different types of governments.

Our basic principle is to live in peaceful coexistence and we do not believe in exporting ideologies," Mukherjee said.

"It is for the people of the countries to decide what type of government they would like," he said, in response to a question if India can help promote democracy in Myanmar where the military has been in power since 1962.

The current junta came to power in Myanmar in 1988.

It held elections in 1990 but refused to hand over power when pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party won handsomely.

Suu Kyi is currently under house arrest and has spent about 10 of the last 17 years in detention.

India and China, as Myanmar's two giant neighbours, have often been urged to play a bigger role in bringing about change in the impoverished country.

First Published: Jun 03, 2006 11:15 IST