SuuKyi criticises India`s Myanmar policy

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NEW DELHI, November 15 (Agencies): Myanmar`s pro-democracy leader Aung San SuuKyi on Thursday said that had Mahatma Gandhi been alive, he would have been “vocal” about his “disapproval” of India`s stand regarding her country.

“I think Mahatma Gandhi would have been very vocal about his disapproval,” the Noble Prize winner told a TV channel during an interview.

“I think he (Gandhi) would have stood by us. He would have insisted that India stand by us because that was the kind of man he was,” she said.

SuuKyi said she felt “saddened” about India`s stand particularly because she felt close to India.

In the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture on Wednesday, she had said that she was saddened that India had drawn away from Myanmar in its “most difficult days” and hoped New Delhi will stand by her country in achieving democracy.

However, SuuKyi said on Thursday that one has to be pragmatic about it because “I know that governments sometimes take a path which is best for their country rather than best for others.”

Asked if she felt betrayed given her long association in India, the chairperson of the National League for Democracy replied in the negative.

“No, I never felt like that. I don`t think we have the right to demand loyalty or support from anybody. We have to work for that loyalty and support. I felt saddened by it, that was all. It did not stay on my mind. There are many other things we have to think about and many quarters from the globe from where we have to try to get support,” she said.

To a poser, SuuKyi, who has strongly advocated amendments in Myanmar`s constitution for free and fair elections, said she has no hesitation in standing for presidency in the next elections due in 2015.

“I don`t have any hesitations. What is democratic politics about if we don`t try to win for our party and if my party wins, obviously I would like to be the leader of that party which means the leader of that government,” SuuKyi said.

She said the support of the army was crucial to take her country to the “right path of democracy” without violence.

The pro-democracy leader also expressed her desire to see it “again as the kind of army my father wished it to be”.

“The powers of the army over the civilian government are woven into the Constitution. So it is only with the willing cooperation of the army that we can move Burma along the right path to democracy without violence,” she said.

However, Indian officials on Friday explained that they did so out of “security concerns”.

Admitting that there was a “certain degree of sadness” reflected by SuuKyi, top officials said, “We could not have put on standstill the kind of cooperation we have got from the government of Myanmar as far as our security concerns are concerned. And that is something, in national interest, we have to take into account.”

They also said that there was no question of “intervening in the internal affairs of any country and in those circumstances that was the best thing we could have done.”

The pro-democracy leader also conveyed to the Indian leadership not to jump to an “optimistic conclusion” on the transition of her country towards democracy.

“She was very open and candid as you are amongst friends. What she brought to our notice is that one should not jump to optimistic conclusions because it is a very difficult path,” they said.

At the same time, she gave a clear message that India should engage with her country and the government.

“During her visit, we found the right working balance,” the officials said.

They also noted that the Myanmarese leader talked about a pragmatic approach, reflecting her understanding of international affairs and the compulsions the countries work with.

Indian officials also condemned the violence involving Rohingya Muslims, a minority community in Myanmar`s Rakhine district.

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