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Suu Kyi asks India to help Myanmar progress

Opposition leader makes historic return to former home

Suu Kyi asks India to help Myanmar progress
Suu Kyi with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Swati Deb, New Delhi

November 15, 2012

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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi called on India to support and encourage her country’s transition towards democracy. During a seven-day trip, her first visit to the country in decades, the Nobel laureate has met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and aimed to re-establish ties with Indian civil society. This follows a period in which most analysts consider the Indian government "cozied up" to the military junta which formerly ruled. “We have not yet achieved the goal of democracy. We are still trying and we hope that in this last and most difficult phase, the people of India will stand by us and walk by us,” she said at a memorial lecture yesterday in New Delhi for Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. During his meeting with Suu Kyi, Singh told the Myanmar opposition leader that “our good wishes are with you as indeed with your struggle for democracy.” Suu Kyi and Singh discussed a variety of issues including the national reconciliation process in Myanmar and the need for people-to-people relations and cooperation between the parliaments and judiciaries of the two countries. Myanmar's opposition leader studied politics and international relations in New Delhi’s famous Lady Shri Ram College for Women when her mother, Khin Kyi, was Burma's ambassador to India in 1960. Her visit is seen as an effort to restore ties between the Myanmar opposition and the civil liberty movement in both countries after India increasingly engaged with Myanmar’s former military rulers during the 1990s when Suu Kyi was under house arrest in Yangon. Ahead of her visit, she told The Hindustan Times that she was saddened, although not surprised, at India's relationship with Myanmar’s military rulers.
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