Myanmar can help India, China overcome problems: Suu Kyi

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has said her country can leverage its good relations with India and China to help both countries “overcome their problems”.

“Myanmar was one of the first countries in the world to recognise the Communist government of China at a time when we were extremely friendly with India. Better India-China relations can help Myanmar as well,” the National League for Democracry (NLD) chairperson and Myanmar’s opposition leader said in an interview with India Today TV channel.

“Burma could help India and China overcome their problems. Why can’t we help the two of them to be better friends and neighbours?” she said.

Suu Kyi said India and Myanmar “need to be more open and transparent to establish peace” on the issue of Indian troops allegedly crossing over into Myanmarese territory.

“Neighbouring governments should establish peace along the borders through transparency, lack of which creates speculation and suspicion,” she said.

Explaining the need for openness between governments, she said: “There is not enough information, and the governments must be more open about what is happening, what they are doing, and why if they want the people to be part of the problem-solving,” Suu Kyi added.

Insurgent groups like the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Suu Kyi said, were not a problem just for India but also Myanmar.

Indian troops had carried out surgical strikes on NSCN camps along the border with Myanmar in June.

“India has to work to come to a peaceful settlement with the Nagas. And we (Myanmar) have got to work to come to a peaceful settlement with those who are on the border,” Suu Kyi said, ahead of elections on November 8.

She termed the relationship between Myanmar and India as “not bad”, and said it was an improvement over what it was three years ago.

“The present relations are an improvement over what it was three or four years ago when India was overcautious about support for the democracy movement in Myanmar,” said Suu Kyi, who spent over nine years studying in India.

It “saddened” her that India earlier “tried to keep away from Myanmar”, she said.

“It saddened me that India, the world’s largest democracy, had turned its back on the democracy movement in Myanmar, in order to keep good relations with the military government in the country,” Suu Kyi explained.

Things have changed, Suu Kyi said, adding that she was confident that both countries would be good friends.

On her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, she said he came across as a “reserved but rather nice person”.

“India can help Myanmar in demonstrating that democracy can survive despite difficulties that India has to face, which are a great deal more than what Myanmar would face now,” Suu Kyi said.

Calling herself a “pragmatic politician”, Suu Kyi said she never liked to be called an “icon”.

“I have had to work very hard. There was much more interest in me from people after I was released from house arrest,” she said.

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