The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi mute on Suu Kyi detention

New Delhi, June 5: With India’s ties with Myanmar’s junta improving over the past few years, a cautious Delhi today chose to describe pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention as an “internal problem”.

Delhi thus clarified that it would not like to make any critical comment about the military rulers in Yangon. Delhi, however, emphasised that it supported UN efforts to consolidate the process of Myanmar’s national reconstruction through dialogue and peaceful activity.

Suu Kyi and other Opposition leaders, who were touring Myanmar’s north, were detained on Friday after four people died in clashes between supporters and opponents of her National League for Democracy.

The junta put her in a detention camp near Yangon and described it as “protective custody”. But they also shut down Suu Kyi’s party offices in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

“India is watching the developments in Myanmar closely and with concern,” foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said. Delhi, he emphasised, consistently supported efforts of restoration of democracy in Myanmar and had welcomed Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest last May.

He, however, quickly added: “India believes that the solution to internal problems must come from within and external pressure can be counter-productive.”

According to Sarna, Delhi was of the view that the UN’s intermediary role in promoting a dialogue between Suu Kyi and her supporters and the military rulers should be encouraged.

India’s cautious approach stemmed from the good relations it enjoyed with the junta in Yangon. Over the past few years, several high-level visits between the two countries marked the expansion of their political and economic cooperation.

The junta’s active cooperation in dealing with Northeastern rebels, who traditionally operated from bases in Myanmar, appeared to be another reason for Delhi’s cautious reaction.

Myanmar’s inclusion in the the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) further enhanced its importance for India as both countries were now working together on a number of schemes to further consolidate economic ties.

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