Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday. In a joint statement issued after the meeting, Suu Kyi thanked India for the strong stand it had taken against the “terror threat that came to our country”, in reference to Rohingya Muslims.
“Together, we will ensure terror is not allowed to take root in our country, on our soil or in neighbouring countries,” she said, according to ANI.
Modi said India shared her “concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state and violence against security forces, and how innocent lives have been affected”. He said India “understands the challenges” and praised the Nobel Prize-winner’s leadership of “Myanmar’s peace process”.
India’s democratic experience is relevant to Myanmar, and as neighbours, the interest of the two countries are similar in the area of security. “It is necessary for us to work together towards the security of our land and maritime border,” Modi said.
He also announces gratis (free) visas for citizens of Myanmar and promised to release 40 citizens from the country lodged in Indian jails.
The two leaders held a series of delegation-level talks at the presidential palace in Myanmar’s Naypyidaw. Modi is pushing India’s “Act East” and “Neighbourhood First” policies for economic growth and stability in the region. “Deepening relationship with Myanmar is a priority for India, as a neighbour and also in the context of the ‘Act East’ Policy,” Modi said, according to Raveesh Kumar, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.
The prime minister also told the Myanmar delegation that India would like to contribute to its development efforts as part of New Delhi’s “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas” initiative.
The prime minister and Myanmar’s de-facto leader Suu Kyi were expected to discuss a range of matters, including the violence and persecution faced by Rohingya Muslims in the country. Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than 10 lakh Rohingya people in Rakhine state.
Modi is on a three-day trip to the country. He had met President Htin Kyaw on Tuesday. This is his first bilateral visit to Myanmar.