'Suu Kyi's visit to China ahead of India a balancing act'

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Beijing, Aug 23: Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to China ahead of India shows her wish to strike a "balance" among major powers, state-run Chinese media today said and called on the Communist nation to broad base ties with Myanmar, not relying on military alone.

Referring to Japanese media reports that India's position in Myanmar's diplomacy will outweigh China, an article in the state-run Global Times said Suu Kyi's visit to China last week "shows that China seems to be more significant than India in Myanmar's diplomacy".

aung san suu kyi
 

"Yet in June, (State Counsellor and Foreign Minister) Suu Kyi expressed her wish to visit India during her meeting with V K Singh, India Minister of State for External Affairs," it said.

"Suu Kyi has chosen China for her first overseas trip outside ASEAN probably not because she is emotionally close to Beijing, but out of Myanmar's domestic politics and national interests. She will lead the country to seek a balance among major powers," the article co-inciding with the just-concluded visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Myanmar said.

While China laid the red carpet for her, making a strong push for Myanmar to revive the stalled USD 3.6 billion Myitsone dam, Suu Kyi during the five-day visit sought China's help for Myanmar's peace process with a number of rebel groups, some of whom are ethnic Chinese outfits who received support from across the border.

The article, written by a state-run think tank said, "like China, India is one of few countries that kept a close relationship with the Myanmese government during the military rule. Yet Suu Kyi was never a fan of New Delhi's dual-track policy - supporting democratic forces and meanwhile having close ties with the military junta. She believes that India, the largest democratic country in the world, should not have kept a distance from Myanmar's democratic forces during the latter's democratisation."

The ties between Myanmar and India are full of peculiarity, complexity, and versatility due to historical connections, "as they face problems including border disputes, cross-border ethnic minorities and Indians in Myanmar, their relations have been far from smooth," it said.

"But for Myanmar, enhancing ties with India can help counterbalance China's influence in Myanmar and also develop its economy by using Indian investment," it said.

PTI

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