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India says Aye to Myanmar generals

India says Aye to Myanmar generals

The Times of India (New Delhi)
November 15, 2000

NEW DELHI: General Maung Aye, vice-chairman of the State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC) of Myanmar, arrived in India on Tuesday with
an entourage of six senior ministers, including a deputy Prime Minister.
Their first stop in India is Patna, form where the team will go on to
Bodh Gaya.

Arrival of this high-powered delegation is an indication of how far
relations between India and the military regime have progressed since a
conscious decision was taken by the Narasimha Rao government in 1991 to
engage Yangon.

General Aye will be given a red carpet welcome when he reaches Delhi on
Friday. He will meet President Narayanan and Prime Minister Vajpayee.
The Confederation of Indian Industry will host a lunch for the visiting
delegation. The team will also travel to Bangalore, Jaipur and Agra.

Ironically, India, which since the military coup in Pakistan has been an
ardent campaigner for democracy, has no qualms about dealing with the
military junta in Myanmar.

Indian dipl9mats see no double standards in engaging with one set of
military rulers while giving short shrift to the other. ?We will do what
is in the best interests of the country. Every country does this,? an
Indian official, who did not want to be identified, said.

At the same time, India privately told the military government about New
Delhi?s concern about Aung San Suu Kyi. ?We found it better to talk
quietly about these issues rather than make loud protests,? an India
official explained.

?We as a country are committed to democracy. We are also for
non-interference in the internal matters of other countries,? another
official said. The Myanmarese Army has been cooperating with India in
dealing with the United Liberation Front of Asom and the Khaplang
faction the NSCN.