Brown to convey British concerns on Myanmar to India


New Delhi : British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will discuss the situation in Myanmar with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh and exhort India to do more to nudge Yangon towards promotion of democracy, London’s envoy Richard Stagg said here Friday.

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Saying that his country favoured a “carrot and stick” policy to promote political reforms in the Southeast Asian country, Stagg underlined that although India and Britain differed in approach, their destination was the same: democracy and meaningful political reforms in Myanmar.

“We believe the present situation in Myanmar is unstable and will not continue indefinitely in future,” Stagg said ahead of Brown’s two-day visit to India that begins Sunday.

The British high commissioner to India underscored “the greater need for international pressure to move the regime in Burma to take reforms seriously.”

The issue will figure in talks between the two prime ministers when they hold talks Monday, said Stagg.

He, however, refrained from predicting the contours of discussions between the two leaders. “We are open to dialogue with India as we acknowledge difference of views” on the issue, he said.

“India is perhaps following a soft and gentle policy. Our approach is different but the destination is the same,” he said.

“We see India’s interest also lies in the transition to a more stable Myanmar. The present situation in Myanmar is very unstable,” he said, while acknowledging that Britain appreciated India’s imperatives in engaging the junta in Yangon due to security considerations and its stakes in Myanamar’s hydrocarbon sector.

“Our concern is that the process launched (there) does not seem to be moving forward significantly,” Stagg said.

India is opposed to coercion and harsh measures against Myanmar, as advocated by some countries, to bring about democracy, and instead favours a dialogue to promote broad-based government in Myanmar based on national reconciliation.