Indian foreign secretary meets military junta chief, NLD members; emphasises ‘Myanmar’s return to democracy’

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Published: Dec 23, 2021, 02:44 PM(IST)

Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is on a two-day visit to Myanmar Photograph:( IANS )

Story highlights

During the meeting, India also raised 'matters related to India’s security' in view of the recent Churachandpur incident and called on Myanmar’s military leadership to put an end to any form of violence and maintain peace and stability in the border areas

Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who is on a two-day visit to Myanmar, held meetings with the military junta chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), on Thursday and conveyed India’s interest in seeing “Myanmar’s return to democracy at the earliest.”

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing had launched the coup in February and ousted the country's charismatic leader Aung San Suu Kyi to become the prime minister.

In a statement, India’s ministry of external affairs said, “During his meetings with all concerned, foreign secretary emphasised India’s interest in seeing Myanmar’s return to democracy at the earliest, release of detainees and prisoners, resolution of issues through dialogue, and complete cessation of all violence.”

The statement added that India expressed its support to the five-point consensus of the ASEAN on Myanmar and “hoped that progress would be made in a pragmatic and constructive manner”.

India had requested for a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi but it not materialised. During the visit, the foreign secretary had meetings with envoys of the US, Australia, Norway, Czech Republic, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan-based out of the country.

During the meeting, India also raised “matters related to India’s security” in view of the recent Churachandpur incident and called on Myanmar’s military leadership to put an end to any form of violence and maintain peace and stability in the border areas.

“Both sides reiterated their commitment to ensure that their respective territories would not be allowed to be used for any activities inimical to the other,” the statement said.

Last month, insurgents had attacked a convoy of Assam rifles killing its Commanding Officer Colonel Viplav Tripathi, his wife and his five-year-old son, along with four personnel in northeastern Manipur state, which borders Myanmar.

The People’s Liberation Army and the Manipur Naga People’s Front claimed responsibility for the incident.

Notably, the release pointed out that “any developments” in Myanmar “have a direct impact on India’s bordering regions. Peace and stability in Myanmar remain of utmost importance to India, specifically to its North Eastern Region.”

Recently, Myanmar had handed over five insurgents to India, the second time in two years that such a development has taken place. 

On the connectivity front, projects like Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Trilateral Highway were also discussed with New Delhi retreating its “commitment for expeditious implementation of ongoing connectivity initiatives”.

India has been developing projects like the Rakhine State Development Programme and Border Area Development Programme for Rohingya refugees, which the MEA statement has categorically called “people of Myanmar”.

As part of the development programme, India has handed over pre-fabricated houses to displaced returnees.

During the visit, Shringla also handed over 1 million doses of “Made in India” vaccines to the Myanmar Red Cross Society and a grant of 10,000 tons of rice and wheat.

Notably, Myanmar was the first country to get Indian made vaccines when New Delhi started its vaccine export program in January this year. The first consignment of vaccines was sent to the country on January 22 this year. So far, India has sent 4.7 million doses of vaccines to the ASEAN country.

Read in App