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Organization: Forum for Democracy and Human Rights
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Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 15:09:29 +0000
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Subject: Suu Kyi flays Burma health care system
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TheAsianAge ( Oct 16, 1996 )
Suu Kyi flays Burma health care system

Bangkok, Oct. 15: Burmese Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi charged in a 
column published on Tuesday that corruption was rife in Burma's health care 
system, saying patients had to bribe doctors to receive medical treatment. Aung 
San Suu Kyi, in a column printed in the Nation newspaper, said that while 
health care was ostensibly free in Burma, patients were increasingly having to 
pay for their own supplies and bribe hospital staff .

"Patients not only have to make their own arrangements for getting the 
necessary medical supplies , they also have to bribe hospital staff in order to 
receive a satisfactory service," she wrote. While the outspoken Noble Peace 
Prize laureate did not blatantly point the finger of blame at the government, 
she said that the dismal situation in Burma's hospitals was "largely due to 

Aung San Suu Kyi added that a similar situation currently existed within the 
school system , with teachers selling off grades and examination questions. 
She said that teachers were no longer held in respect in Burma , and that low 
pay in state-run institutions was forcing employees to resort to under-the-table 
payments in order to make ends meet.                      
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The Indain Express ( Oct. 16, 1996 )
India's balancing border act

The West is trying hard to sell democracy to Myanmar. But for regional giants 
India and China, a status quo in the military- ruled state seems fine, says 
Nirmala George.

If the recent crackdown on pro-democracy activists by the military regime in 
Myanmar has evoked protests from the international community ,New Delhi 
and Beijing are not moved. The reason is not far to seek; their security concerns 
far outweigh the need to hold the flag for Aung San Suu Kyi.

For India, the events its backyard have an immediate bearing on its national 
security calculus . The continuing political turbulence in Myanmar has once 
again raised the question of New Delhi's ambivalence towards the military 
rulers in Yangon. Especially when see in the context of Indians having for long 
empathised with the struggle that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has 
waged against Yangin's military rulers. For a large number of her Indian 
supporters, New Delhi's continued dealings with the State Law and Order 
Restoration Council (SLORC), as the military regime is called, have not been 
easy to swallow.

India's attitude to the SLORC from  the time it look office in 1988 to the early 
'90s have undergone a radical transformation. In the post-1988 period, India was 
one of the most vociferous critics of the SLORC. Its welcome to pro-democracy 
activists who fled Myanmar, its broadcasts over all India Radio in the face of 
objections from the Myanmarese generals and its critique of the military regime 
at international fora, led Rangon to accuse India of interfering in its internal 

The feelings of empathy that Suu Kyi roused in this country, were 
complemented, no less, by the official criticism of the military junta. This 
strident policy underwent a sea-change in the early 1990s resulting in the 
coining of the "functional cooperation " gambit. New Delhi toned down its 
criticism and began a series of tentative overtures to Rangoon, strictly on an 
issue-to-issue basis.

What provoked the about-turn in New Delhi's attitude towards the SLORC 
was in part the necessity to tackle persistent problems due to the porous border 
that this country shared with Myanmar. Efficient border management make a 
"working bilateral relationship " an imperative. Any headway in curbing the 
flow of illicit arms, checking the narcotics trade and stamping out cross- border 
insurgency movement was possible only though dealing with the military junta.
But one of the chief determinants of India reassessments its relations with 
Myanmar  was a growing sense of alarm in South Block over China's overtures 
to Yangoon. As Myanmar's military rulers abandoned  the country's autarkic 
policies and began looking outwards, seeking foreign investment and trade 
opportunities, the Chinese reacted with alacrity. 

 China's gradual drawing of Yangoon into strategic orbit has been accompany by 
growing economic and military cooperation. Trade between the two countries 
now tops $1.5 billion a year. Beijing has invested in a number of civil 
infrastructure projects including roads and port facilities. A large part of the 
military equipment that the SLORC has purchased in the post-1988 phase, 
including fighter aircraft, rocket launchers, artillery, communications equipment, 
armoured personnel carriers and small arms, has also been sourced from Beijing.

In exchange, China stood to gain access to the Indian Ocean. Reports indicated 
that Beijing was more than willing to build a deepwater port on Haiggyi Island 
which would augment China's economic and military outreach.

Though India's level of engagement may not have been on a par with Beijing 
there has been significant momentum in bilateral cooperation. there have been 
several rounds of talks on resolviing border problems. Trade delegations have 
made trips to either side.

For the many supporters of Suu Kyi in India, New Delhi's silence has been 
deafening. But the pragmatism governing the extremely "correct" posture taken 
by South Block has robbed the military junta of an opportunity to accuse India 
of helping the pro-democracy fighters. It has also denied Yangon a chance to 
charge this country of interfering in its internal affairs.
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