India offers help to aid Myanmar’s democratic transitionOctober 14th, 2011 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) Lauding Myanmar’s “transition towards a democratic government”, India Friday offered to share its experience in parliamentary practices, signalling New Delhi’s strategic move to scale up relations with the southeast Asian country that is also deepening ties with Beijing.New Delhi has invited the speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw (the lower house of Myanmar’s parliament) to lead a delegation here in December for talks with Indian parliamentarians.
In his discussions with Myanmar President Thein Sein, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated him on “the transition towards democratic government and offered all necessary assistance in further strengthening this democratic transition in an inclusive and broad-based manner,” said a joint statement after the talks.
“The visit represented the first state visit to India following the swearing-in of a new government in Myanmar in March 2011 that marks welcome progress in moving towards an open and democratic framework,” said the statement.
Manmohan Singh welcomed the ongoing efforts at political, economic and social reform in Myanmar. He also welcomed the convening of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw (national parliament of Myanmar) and the elected assemblies in all the states and regions in Myanmar.
He “expressed readiness to share India’s own experiences in evolving parliamentary rules, procedures and practices,” said the statement.
The embrace of reforms by the civilian government of Thein Sein, which was sworn in early this year, has cleared the space for India’s deepening of strategic, economic and political ties with Myanmar.
It is not, however, clear whether New Delhi will use its leverage with Western powers to persuade them to lift sanctions against Myanmar to help spur its democratic transformation.
Earlier, India was defensive about its ties with the junta-ruled Myanmar that was targeted by the West over human rights violations, but the stage is now set for an all-around acceleration of the multi-faceted ties.
Significantly, India Friday announced $500 million in lines of credit for a host of developmental projects for Myanmar and decided to expand security cooperation.
The state visit of Thein Sein to India has come amid Beijing’s fraying ties with Naypyidaw — Myanmar’s new capital city 320 km north of Yangon — over the latter’s decision to suspend a $3.6 billion hydro-electric power project on environmental grounds.
However, this is seen as a temporary hiccup in Beijing’s efforts to acquire greater stakes in Myanmar’s energy and infrastructure sectors.
Thein Sein, a former general in Myanmar’s army, touched down here Wednesday. The visit coincided with his government releasing many political prisoners as part of a general amnesty, bolstering the new regime’s reformist credentials.
In fact, ever since he assumed power, Thein Sein has taken a slew of steps, including the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, that has struck a chord both domestically and internationally.
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