India hails Suu Kyi’s release, hopes for political change


New Delhi: India Saturday welcomed the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hoped that this step will be the beginning of an inclusive reconciliation in Myanmar.

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“I understand that the Government of Myanmar has just released Madame Aung San Suu Kyi. The government of India welcomes her release,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here.

“As a close neighbour of Myanmar, we are confident that the release of Suu Kyi will contribute to efforts for a more inclusive approach to political change,” Krishna said.

India also broke its silence on last week’s elections in Myanmar. “The recent elections in Myanmar are an important step in the direction of the national reconciliation process being undertaken by the government of Myanmar,” said Krishna.

“We have always encouraged them to take this process forward in a broad-based and inclusive manner,” he said.

Suu Kyi’s release come soon after the Myanmar’s military junta’s proxy political party, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), swept the country’s first elections in decades Sunday, defeating a breakaway faction of Suu Kyi’s own party, National League of Democracy (NLD).

India’s positive statement on the elections in Myanmar comes amid widespread condemnation of the polls by some western countries as “sham elections,” including the US and indicates a diplomatic tightrope walk by New Delhi by being cautious in its reaction. During his visit to India, US President Barack Obama exhorted India to speak up for democracy and human rights in the energy-rich southeast Asian country.