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>From : FTUB(WB) <burtu.atubdo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject : Indo-Myanmar border trade crosses Rs 3 cr
Indo-Myanmar border trade crosses Rs 3 cr
The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Tuesday December 14 1995.
CALCUTTA, Dec. 13: Cross border trade between India and Myanmar through
the newly opened land route connecting Moreh in Manipur with Tamu in
Myanmar has during the last six months crossed the Rs. 3-crore(10 million) mark.
This has prompted the need to establish a similar land route between Champhai in
Mizoram with adjoining Burmese province, which will start opening soon,
according to Indian Commerce Ministry sources.
Both these land routes as well as the newly launched biweekly direct air flights
between Calcutta and Yangon by Indian Airlines are expected to ease considerable
the earlier difficulties encountered by the Indian traders. Absence of direct shipping
lines and lack of other transportation facilities were stifling the growth of bilateral
trade, and the Indian business community had to depend mainly on costly carriage
facilities offered by Thai and Singaporean airlines.
The resumption of direct air links after a gap of 22 years is understood to have evoke
tremendous interest in corporate circle here as quite a number of Calcutta and
Northeast based industries and firms have begun exploring possibilities of setting up
marketing offices in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.
The Indian multinational ITC is understood to have sent a senior official to Yangon
last week to hold discussion with Myanmar Chamber of Commerce on mutually
beneficial business cooperation as many ITC products are through the company's
offices in Singapore.
Official of both India and Myanmar are also examining the possibility of reopening
very soon the suspended auction center for the famous Myanmarese teak wood
somewhere near the border, so that Indian traders can take part in it.
One of the most compelling reasons why most Indian companies which have already
gained a foothold in Myanmar through their agents and subagents are eager to have
their own offices in that, due to supply delays, a lot of spurious goods with Indian-
made labels are flooding the markets there causing huge financial losses and damage
to their reputation.
Thus, deployment of these companies' own personnel in Myanmar will generate
increasing business, transportation of high-demand Indian consumer goods including
tea, spices, pharmaceutical products, toiletries, cosmetics, tyres, textiles and hosiery,
etc., by air cargo, the official pointed out.
Subject : A false step? (EDITORIAL)
A FALSE STEP?
A United Nations committee has adopted a non-voted resolution that calls upon the
military regime in Myanmar to begin a political dialogue with Ms Aung San Suu Kyi.
The document may also be passed by the General Assembly soon. Superficially, there
can be no objection to anyone calling for a dialogue between political adversaries.
But the UN panels initiative raises serious questions of principle. Since when has it
assumed the role of establishing that variety of a democratic system around the world
as is understood in the west? If the UN Charter is supportively over stretched on this
issue, it must explain how does it continue to deal with residual totalitarian and non-
democratic as in China, North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and a host of other
countries? If Myanmar can be lectured on democracy for refusing to hand over power
to Ms Suu Kyi after her party won in an election six years ago, there would be
another worthy claimant for the same honour-the military government of Algeria
which before its recent electoral success, had refused to relinquish power to the
fundamentalist Islamic forces. Did the UN committee consider adopting a resolution
against the Algerian military regime and, if it did not, was it be cause the regime's
adversary was Islamic fundamentalism?
Such double standards are not uncommon in governments, but an excess of them
would only erode the UN's credibility to a point where it would be identified with
one power or a coterie of powerful governments. The UN panel's partisan resolution
has not served Ms Suu Kyi's noble cause well. Her well-wishers abroad should
consider the ground realities in where the armed forces continue to be a powerful
factor in the national politic, an Pakistan and several other countries trying to transit
to a Western-type democracy. Pragmatism suggest that Ms Suu Kyi should abandon
her "either-or" approach towards the military regime if she wants to eventually
establish a democratic system in Myanmar. A similar approach is paying dividends
in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Any external force widening the differences between
Ms Suu Kyi and the military government is not helping the cause of peace and
development in Myanmar.
>From : FTUB(WB) <burtu.atubdo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject : Editorial (The Times of India) Road to Mandalay.
ROAD TO MANDALAY
The Times of India, New Delhi, Dec. 14 1995.
Rudyard Kipling once wrote poetically of the road to Mandalay as a place where
the dawn comes up like thunder out of China. Today, the dawn has been
substituted by arms and commerce from the country's giant neighbor and this has
bolstered the fortunes of the country's military rulers to the detriment of
democracy. It must be with this in mind that the opposition leader, Ms Aung San
Suu Kyi spoke of why she had greater expectations of democratic India than China
in the movement for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar. While China has
been very clear that it will seek to utilize any business opportunity which presents
itself, India's stand towards Myanmar has been somewhat ambivalent: it has stressed
the need for democracy and human rights, but it also been keen not to lose out on
trade with its resource-rich neighbor. The powerful ASEAN grouping and Japan, too,
have not hesitated to deal with the Myanmar junta - a strategy they term as
"constructive engagement" - while at the same time urging greater democracy.
Ms Suu Kyi herself appears to realize that expecting consistency from neighbors may
not be feasible, and has repeatedly stressed the need for dialogue and reconciliation
with the junta. Her pragmatism is clearly the result of the realization that though she
has popular support, she has very little power at present to the change the course of
politics in Myanmar.
During the long years she was under house arrest, the junta has consolidated its
position considerably and has been able to attract sizable foreign investment.
Ms Suu Kyi's won party, the National League for Democracy, has been badly
demoralized by her absence and with most of its other leaders in jail, it no longer
poses any challenge to the junta. However, her personal charisma and the fact that
she is the daughter of the legendary Aung San, architect of the country's
independence, makes Ms Suu Kyi crucial to any move to restore democracy.
The junta has never been known to bow to external pressure and any attempt by
India, or anyone else, to force its hand would undermine both Ms Suu Kyi and the
larger cause of democracy. The best India can do under the circumstances is to
maintain moral pressure and support a speedy return to multi-party democracy.
The junta itself favours such a move with the provision that it plays a leading role in
new regime. Ms Suu Kyi and her party have boycotted the ongoing deliberations to
draw up a new constitution which would accord the military rulers a certain
legitimacy. While India must oppose any move by the junta to set up a parallel state
within a state, it must not feel inhibited about strengthening trade ties. China today
exercise considerable clout in Yangon and arms flow freely into the country from
Beijing. This could prove detrimental to India's long-term interest which would be
best served by the re-emergence of democracy in Myanmar, a development in which
Ms Suu Kyi will doubtless play a pivotal part.
>From : FTUB(WB) <burtu.atubdo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject : Suu Kyi's democracy durbar thrives despite junta power
The Asian Age (New Delhi Tuesday 12 Dec. 1995)
SUU KYI'S DEMOCRACY DURBAR THRIVES DESPITE JUNTA POWER
By Tikla Basu
Rangoon, Dec. 11: Authoritarian Burma gets a brief, feeling glimpse of democracy
on weekends, every Saturday and Sunday, ever her release from six years of house
arrest in July, the nation's best-known politician and Nobel Prize-winning
conscience-keeper holds court outside the green gates of her Rangoon house.
And the people keep coming, undeterred by the dire threats issued by the
"Democracy not only spell progress, but also the healthy acceptance of opposition,"
the frail 48-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi, perched on the gates of her house, told last
Saturday's gathering, which included a group of visiting Indian journalists,
accompanied by an interpreter. But the military junta does not see eye to eye with
the fiery leader of the National League for Democracy. An earlier attempt to fix an
appointment for an interview was thwarted by the Burmese foreign ministry, which
browbeat Indian Airlines, the journalists' official hosts, into having it canceled. But
her weekend darbar was open to all. These meetings are the only direct contact
Suu Kyi has with her people. "They write to me about their problems which I try to
discuss in my speeches," she said afterward. Despite warning from the authorities
and frequent threats of dismissal, civil servants still throng to them in huge numbers.
The regime tried to persuade Buddhist monks to stay away, said Ms Suu Kyi, but they
still come." The junta's agents are everywhere: frequent clicks during hr meeting
indicated to all those present that they were being photographed.
Speaking to the Indian journalists in her drawing room after addressing the crowd,
Ms Suu Kyi laughed when informed of the circumstances in which the earlier
appointment with her had been canceled. Dressed in a pink thumei, the Burmese
national dress for women, and with red roses stuck in her hair, she talked at length
on the limited nature of the "freedom" that she enjoyed. "Yes I am free," she said.
But she does not received the newspapers daily, her mail is heavily censored before
being handed over to her, and is restrained even from traveling within the country
Even though separated from her husband and children who live abroad, Ms Suu Kyi
is afraid to leave Burma, fearing the junta may not let her back in. That was the
reason she could not travel to New Delhi last month to receive the Jawaharlal Nehru
award personally because I feared the government might debar me from coming back,"
Her boycott of the National Convention organized by the junta - last first major act
of political defiance by her National League for Democracy since her release five
months ago - has raised the political temperature in this country, and sparked off a
fresh controversy among ordinary citizens.
"I am not against it, but I do not like the idea of being deceived," she said. "If
delegates are not given freedom to discuss among themselves, nor submit uncensored
paper, what democracy can we hope for?" she asked. There were also provisions that
allows the military to take action against any member without consulting the elected
Ms Suu Kyi insists she is not anti-military. "I wants the Army to be an honorable,
professional institution, not a state within a state or a parallel government," she said
emphatically. In her attempt to build a strong middle class which she believes can be
the best platform for the expression of grievances, Ms Suu Kyi says, "I am afraid of
my colleagues dying out on me." Aung San Suu Kyi says she has been hearing about
elections and annihilation for the last six to seven years," but refuses to be cowed
down. As the journalists left her house, she told them; Just tell me if you face any
trouble at the airport."
The next day's headlines in THE NEW LIGHT OF MYANMAR, a pro-government
newspaper, read: National Convention will proceed toward success despite
interference of external media and internal subversive elements."
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