Myanmar issue will not rock India-UK boat: Envoy

July 28th, 2010 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

David Cameron New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) As India rolled out aid and inked a counter-terror pact with Myanmar, Britain admitted to differences with New Delhi in engaging the junta, but is keen that the issue will not allow the “whole boat” to trip over when Prime Minister David Cameron holds talks with Indian leaders here Thursday.
Cameron’s visit to India, which begins Wednesday, has coincided with the trip of the Myanmar’s military ruler General Than Shwe, who is widely derided in Western capitals for the junta’s repressive policies.

British high commissioner Sir Richard Stagg admitted to differences over the Myanmar issue, but stressed that absolute agreement is not possible in any relationship. “We agree on the end-point, but have different views on how to get there,” Stagg told reporters.

“Absolute agreement is unlikely in the course of this visit, but it is a mark of a strong relationship that allows disagreement on some issues without causing the whole boat to tip over,” he said.

The Myanmar issue will figure in discussions between British Foreign Secretary William Hague and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday and in talks between Manmohan Singh and Cameron the next day.

Recently, Britain’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Browne said his country will regard elections due later this year in Myanmar as illegitimate if the military government denies a role to hundreds of political opponents now in prison.

He stressed that the Cameron government believed in applying pressure on Myanmar to improve its political and human rights record.

India Tuesday signed a key pact to boost counter-terror cooperation with Myanmar and offered soft loans worth millions of dollars for a string of development and transport projects in the energy-rich southeast Asian country.

Tactfully balancing Western condemnation of the Myanmar junta over its human rights record and its security and energy interests, India gently nudged the junta in the direction of democratic reforms.

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