India expresses concern over Aung San Suu Kyi’s conviction
India on Tuesday expressed concern at Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi being convicted in what was described as a “sham trial”, and called on all stakeholders in the neighbouring country to settle their differences through dialogue.
On Monday, Suu Kyi was found guilty by a court in military-ruled Myanmar of charges of incitement and breaching Covid-19 restrictions. The conviction drew global condemnation. State-run TV reported she will serve two years in detention after the sentence was reduced from four years because of a partial pardon from Myanmar’s military chief.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi referred to the proceedings against 76-year-old Suu Kyi and others in Myanmar and said, “We are disturbed at the recent verdicts. As a neighbouring democracy, India has been consistently supportive of the democratic transition in Myanmar.”
India believes that “the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld”, he said.
“Any development that undermines these processes and accentuates differences is a matter of deep concern. It is our sincere hope that keeping their nation’s future in mind, efforts would be made by all sides to advance the path of dialogue,” Bagchi said.
India has attempted to maintain a delicate balance between Myanmar’s military junta and democratic forces since the February 1 coup in the Southeast Asian country, mainly because of security concerns associated with the northeastern states.
It has called for the restoration of the democratic process, but stopped short of strongly criticising Myanmar’s military rulers due to fears that it could push the country closer to China.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup against the democratically elected government led to protests and sparked global concern about the end of political reforms following decades of military rule.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi has been detained since the coup along with most leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. She faces a dozen cases, including corruption charges and violations of a state secrets act, a telecommunications law and Covid-19 regulations, and has denied the charges.
Suu Kyi’s supporters say the cases are baseless and designed to end her political career.
The trial in the capital Naypyitaw was closed to the media and Suu Kyi’s lawyers were barred from communicating with the public.
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