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First Lady to meet general, George

First Lady to meet general, George will stay away

The Asian Age (New Delhi)
November 17, 2000

New Delhi, Nov. 16: First Lady Usha Narayanan will receive the visiting
Burmese General Maung Aye when he meets President K.R. Narayanan, a
Rashtrapati Bhavan official said here on Thursday.

The official told The Asian Age Ms Narayanan will receive Gen. Aye and
his wife, Daw Mya Mya San, as per protocol.

The official said it is an accepted norm around the world that when a
visiting dignitary is accompanied by his wife, the First Lady is also
present at the receiving ceremony. There were reports that Ms Narayanan
was reluctant to meet the prominent member of the Burmese military

Gen. Aye, who is the second-most powerful leader of Burma?s ruling State
Peace and Development Council and chief of Burma?s armed forces, reached
India on November 14. He and chief of Burma?s armed forces, reached
India on November 14. HE went straight to Bodh Gaya. The official visit
will begin from Friday when will be given a ceremonial reception on the
forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. He is accompanied by a delegation
comprising Burma?s deputy prime minister Lt. Gen Tin Hla and the
ministers for foreign affairs, finance, commerce, power, science and
technology and industry. In New Delhi, Gen. Aye will meet President
Narayanan, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Union home minister L.K.
Advani and external affairs minister Jaswant Singh. Missing in the list
of ministers scheduled to meet the general is defence minister George
Fernandes. While Gen. Aye will meet the former Chief of the Indian Army,
Gen. V.P. Malik (Retd), no meeting with Mr Fernandes has been scheduled
as per the programme.

Mr. Fernandes is an avid supporter of the pro-democracy moment in Burma
and has given refuge to student activists form Burma in his house in New
Delhi. The Burmese general?s visit has put a question mark over India?s
position on the pro-democracy movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Gen. Aye
will also visit Agra and the India International Trade Fair in New
Delhi. The police is keeping a close watch on the Burmese student sin
New Delhi to avoid any embarrassment during the visit. Some Burmese
students demonstrating against the general?s visit were rounded up by
the police as a precautionary measure.