02 October 2007

India Must Keep Good Relations With Myanmar

What can one expect of a country that slaughters its own citizens, the same group of citizens that fought and died for that country's independence in the first place?

This article appeared today. in The Hindustan Times

New Delhi, October 02, 2007



The Indian Army's new chief Gen Deepak Kapoor said on
Monday that India should maintain its good relations with Myanmar. The
happenings in Myanmar are an internal matter of that country, Gen Kapoor said in
response to a question on the political situation there.

"We have good relations with Myanmar and we should
maintain these," he said. The new chief was speaking to reporters shortly after
inspecting the guard of honour to mark his taking over the reins of the Indian
Army. The cooperation and support of Myanmar's military is considered vital to
India's counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast.

Despite pressure from the West to condemn the crackdown
on pro-democracy protestors, India has been guarded in its approach. The
external affairs ministry earlier gave a statement, after protests broke out
against the ruling junta, which merely expressed "concern". It came at a time
when most other countries were condemning the attacks on protesting monks as

"As a close and friendly neighbour, India hopes to see a
peaceful, stable and prosperous Myanmar, where all sections of the people will
be included in a broad-based process of national reconciliation and political
reform," said an Indian foreign office statement released earlier.

Till the mid-1990s, India was openly supporting
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In October 2004, New Delhi welcomed military
leader Gen Than Shwe during his visit to the capital, signaling the change in
course to balance China's growing influence in the region.