Hailing India’s diversity and pluralism, Myanmar’s iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi today invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, saying people of her country drew huge inspiration from the two Indian greats in their yearning for democracy.
Suu Kyi, who led her National League for Democracy to wrest power from the military junta in a historic election earlier this year, said the new government wants to significantly deepen engagement and expand existing cooperation with India, asserting that the intention is to “depend on each other”.
“In our struggle for democracy, we have been helped greatly by the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. The two great leaders of Indian Independence movement have inspired with their vision and with their belief,” Suu Kyi said in her press statement in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi held extensive talks with her covering entire expanse of bilateral ties, signalling the importance she holds in Myanmar’s polity and government though she is the State Councillor and Foreign Minister.
Describing her visit here as “happy and extremely fulfilling”, Suu Kyi said the visit has confirmed the “long-standing friendship and trust” that exist between the two countries.
She said “very very” wide range of subjects were covered in her talks with Modi.
“It is our intention to engage more closely together, to depend on each other,” she said.
Her comments were seen as allaying apprehension here that Myanmar was getting close to China which has been increasing its footprint in that country and making huge investments in several major projects there.
“We as a nation struggling to make democratic culture take root in our country, we believe India will be able to help us. We are going to be cooperating in areas of construction, energy, culture and education,” she said.
Referring to her meeting with top business leaders, Suu Kyi said she urged them to invest in “trust” so that trade can flourish.
“We have much to do. We are behind India in the field of development and in the field of politics. But we are confident that we will be able to make up for the lost time,” she said.
Observing that Myanmar was much ahead of many other countries in South Asia a few decades ago, she said, “Things change, life changes unexpectedly but with good friends and with commitment and endeavour on our side, we are confident of making up.”
Suu Kyi said her aim now was to bring peace and stability to Myanmar and to the region and beyond.
“We have been trying to bring peace to our country for decades. We hope that time has come for us to be able to say we have made the breakthrough and we are now firmly set on the path to a union, that will be a union which will be just to people.
“For this too we look up to India with its experience of federalism, to teach us how we bring all our people into the process and to be part of our search for peace, stability and enduring federalism,” she said.
Talking about India’s spiritual resources, she said the country’s pluralism and federal structure were inspiration to Myanmar.
“We always admired India as the greatest democracy in the world and for being able to maintain the system despite many challenges that have raised their heads since Independence,” she said.