Suu Kyi’s message
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India must be yet more bold and imaginative in integrating Myanmar into its regional aspirations
Aung San Suu Kyi's rich and varied itinerary in India gives ample indication of the deepening of India-Myanmar ties. Her delivery of the Jawaharlal Nehru memorial lecture yesterday reflects how gainfully India-Myanmar ties have come full circle — and indeed, how largehearted has been the cooperation of Suu Kyi and the military in transforming Myanmar.
When Suu Kyi was awarded the Nehru prize in the early 1990s, the ruling junta in Myanmar, which had stolen the general elections of 1990 from her party, made its displeasure clear. In the years since, especially over the last decade, India gradually repaired its relations with Myanmar and was accused of walking a cynical middle path between support to the democratic aspirations of the Myanmarese people and rehabilitation of the junta in bilateral ties in an effort to compete with China for transport connectivity and energy security via Myanmar. Indeed, when American President Barack Obama addressed Parliament in Delhi in November 2010, he exhorted India to take a bold stand against the generals. Yet, just a year later, the generals participated in a potentially radical opening up of their country, not only by setting Suu Kyi free from house arrest, but also by making space for her to stand for a by-election to Myanmar 's parliament. Now, as Suu Kyi visits India as an ambassador for Myanmar 's democratic aspirations as well as a member of the legislature that gives the Myanmarese regime its legitimacy, it is not just that Delhi can once again take comfort that its efforts thus far for a stable, unified Myanmar have borne fruit. India must keep pushing the envelope to hasten the economic integration on its eastern borders.