Indian foreign secretary meets Suu Kyi

June 22nd, 2011 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, June 22 (IANS) India made its first high-level contact with democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao called on her at her residence here.

On the very first day of a three-day trip to Myanmar that ended Wednesday, Rao called on the Nobel laureate and leader of the now disbanded National League for Democracy (NLD), officials said.

The nearly hour-long meeting was kept under wraps until the Indian delegation’s visit to Myanmar concluded. Rao and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna also met the former military leadership.

Although India’s ambassador to Myanmar met Suu Kyi in December after she was freed from house arrest following the 2010 elections, Rao’s discussion marked the highest-level contact with the New Delhi-educated leader.

Informed sources said that Rao and Suu Kyi discussed New Delhi’s “greater participation” in Myanmar’s development works.

“The foreign secretary took the opportunity to make a courtesy call on Suu Kyi at her residence. The two spoke about India’s relations with Myanmar,” an official said.

“Suu Kyi was apprised of the development assistance India is extending to Myanmar in various fields.”

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest on and off for about 15 of the last 21 years. Her last detention lasted 18 months.

Her party NLD stood disbanded in May 2010 after failing to register with the Myanmar election authorities. Subsequently, the NLD refused to take part in the November 2010 elections.

“Suu Kyi also spoke about cooperation of India and Myanmar in a number of areas. Both Suu Kyi and (Rao) underlined the historical and traditional ties between our two countries,” the official said.

“Suu Kyi expressed her desire to see this relation grow.”

The democracy leader recalled her days in India and her Indian friends. She sought more people-to-people contacts in the fields of religion, linguistics and other cultural areas.

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