Balancing act: India tries to keep both Suu Kyi, junta happy


While the breadth and pace of engagement, going by the sheer frequency of visits, is meant to underline India's commitment to the current regime, the other side of the balance is dealing with Suu Kyi in a manner that she is supportive of the Indian approach.

To that extent, Khurshid made his first diplomatic move, equating Suu Kyi to Nelson Mandela ahead of their meeting in Yangon on Saturday.

"I see shades of Nelson Mandela in her. He dealt with people who oppressed him and kept him under arrest. He did it with tremendous amount of sagacity and generosity because his priority was to rebuild South Africa rather than complain about the past and I see shades of that in her strategy and in the manner in which she is working with the government today," he said en-route to Myanmar.

In fact, according to him, she may still not be happy with the change that has taken place, but nevertheless she is engaging with the government. "That's exactly what we did," he added.

At the same time, Khurshid downplayed Suu Kyi's public expression of "disappointment" with India for its proximity to the military regime during her "difficult days". While conceding that there may have been a "degree of divergence" between her expectations and the Indian response, he said:

"This happens in many parts of the world because you balance the ground reality with your aspirations and principles and that's the way the real world works. If she looks at the balance sheet, she will find that we did stand by her at important moments."

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