India expresses concern over Myanmar crisis

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New York, Oct 2: Expressing concern over the current situation in Myanmar, where the military government has cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrations, India has hoped that the process of national reconciliation and political reform would be taken forward expeditiously.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee conveyed New Delhi's concern during his meeting with Myanmarese counterpart U Nyan Win on Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Mukherjee suggested that the Myanmar government should consider undertaking an inquiry into recent incidents and the use of force on pro-democracy protestors.

"During the meeting, the External Affairs Minister expressed concern at the current situation in Myanmar," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Noting that India was a "close and friendly neighbour" of Myanmar, Mukherjee said New Delhi "hoped to see peace, prosperity and stability" in that country.

"The Minister also expressed the hope that the process of national reconciliation and political reform, initiated by the Government of Myanmar, would be taken forward expeditiously," the statement said.

Mukherjee also met UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, and apprised him of the regional issues. The meeting with Ki-moon lasted for about 20 minutes.

The situation in Myanmar also figured when Mukherjee met Ki-moon, the statement said.

The UN Secretary General has sent its special representative to Yangoon to interact with the government there.

After waiting four days to see Myanmar's military leader General Than Shwe, UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari has reportedly met him.

Gambari is in Myanmar to convey the international community's concerns over the violent crackdown.

Meanwhile, in his first public appearance after taking over as the 23rd Army Chief, in reply to a question on the political turmoil in Myanmar, General Deepak Kapoor said it was an internal matter that needed to be tackled by the country's government.

"We have good relations with Myanmar and we will try to maintain them," General Kapoor said.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party; and the ally of ruling UPA, Left have condemned the violent crackdown by Myanmarese government on pro-democracy demonstrators there and urged New Delhi's intervention in Myanmar.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau, which met in Kolkata on Friday, took serious note of the political developments in Myanmar.

In a statement, it called upon the Centre to "utilise all political and diplomatic channels to impress upon the military government in Myanmar to cease its repression and initiate talks for a democratic transition."

In Yangon, the pro-democracy movement led by monks is being violently repressed by the military government and at least nine people have died in the crackdown.


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