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Delhi forgets Suu Kyi, rolls out re
Delhi forgets Suu Kyi, rolls out red carpet for general
The Asian Age (New Delhi)
November 15, 2000
By Gautam Datt
New Delhi, Nov. 14: With India playing host to the second-most power
foul member of the Burmese military junta, concern is being expressed at
New Delhi?s stand on the democratic movement in the Southeast Asian
The vice-chairman of Burma?s ruling State Peace and Development Council
and chief of the armed forces, General Maung Aye, is due to begin his
India visit from November 14.
New Delhi which opposes military rule in Pakistan, will have a lot to
explain on the visit of the Burmese general. A senior foreign ministry
official said India?s relations with the two countries cannot be
compared, adding that Burma is a ?different? case as it has cultural and
historical ties with India.
Experts said economic interests explain India?s relations with Burma.
Despite military rule, there has been frequent contact. New Delhi is
ready to do business with Rangoon though several countries keep away
from the Burmese junta.
But such a high-level visit to New Delhi is taking place after a long
time. The Burmese general is arriving in India along with a high-profile
delegation. He is accompanied by deputy prime minister Tt. Gen. Tin Hla,
who is also minister for military affairs, and the ministers for foreign
affairs, finance, commerce, power, science and technology and industry.
Gen Maung Aye will call on President K.R Narayanan, vice-president
Krishan Kant and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. He is also
scheduled to visit Bangalore, Agra, Udaipur and Bodh Gaya. Apart form
economic compulsions, India needs Burma?s help to counter insurgency in
the North-east states. Several separatist groups operating in the
Northeast have bases in Burma. Mr Sanjoy Hazarika, a senior fellow at
the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research and an expert on the
Northeast, has been quoted by the Mizzima news group as saying: ?The
Government of India has been a host to various refugee groups form Burma
and members of the democracy movement. That has not been changed over
the years. This itself shows India?s stand.? He added that ?what has
changed, however, is India?s emphasis and public recognition of the
importance of the regime in Rangoon, both, form the security point of
view and in terms of economic relations with that country.?