Nobel laureate and the leader of opposition in Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi spoke to the Indian media for the first time in three years.
Nobel laureate and the leader of opposition in Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday spoke to the Indian media for the first time in three years. Appearing on India Today Television's show To The Point, hosted by Karan Thapar, Suu Kyi expressed a special affection for India and that she has put behind how India has treated her in past. Kyi said that the present state of India-Burma relations is "not bad".
Elections are due on November 8, 2015, but Myanmar's constitution does not permit her to become the president. But the leader of National League for Democracy asserted that she will lead any government her party forms regardless of whether she is president or not.
"I have made it quite clear that if the NLD wins elections and we form a government I am going to be the leader of that government, whether or not I am the president," she said.
The National League for Democracy is likely to win with a majority and come to power in Myanmar later this year.
Speaking from her lakeside home in Rangoon, Suu Kyi said that she has a special affection for India and has put India's past treatment of her behind her. She said that the present state of India-Burma relations is "not bad".
"It's an improvement on what it was 3-4 years ago when India was overcautious with regard to support for the democracy movement in Burma. In fact, they tried to keep away from us that saddened me because I have a special affection for India. Indian and Burmese leaders have been close friends since the days before independence. It's saddened me that India, the largest democracy in the world, was turning its back on democracy in order to maintain good relations with the military government. But things have changed. Partly because of changes here and perhaps because of changes in India itself, somehow I am always confident we will always be friends, good friends, who will be able to help one another the past is there just for us to take lessons from it. Not to be angry or resentful," said Suu Kyi.
On Prime Minister Modi
The Myanmarese leader called Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "a rather reserved person".
"He came across as a rather reserved person. I don't know whether shy is the word but reserved. But he wasn't reserved to the point of being difficult. He was rather nice, actually. I got the impression he would like to help the progress of democracy in Burma. He has tremendous goodwill towards the country and to us as a movement for democracy." Suu Kyi added.
On India's 'hot pursuit' missions
Asked if she came to power whether she would permit 'hot pursuit' missions, similar to what is widely believed happened in June this year, Aung San Suu Kyi said that she would insist on "transparency
"I would want transparency. If we as neighbours are to establish peace on our borders and genuine understanding between our two countries there has to be more transparency. It's the lack of transparency that creates all kinds of speculation and suspicion. That erodes the very foundations of friendship," she said.
On Indian democracy
Suu Kyi said that Indian democracy and its tenacity was a lesson for Myanmar to look up to.
"One of the ways in which you can always help is by demonstrating that democracy can survive in spite of all the difficulties you've had to face which are a great deal more than what we are having to face (I am talking of) the tenacity of democratic values," she said.
Suu Kyi said that the relations between Myanmar and China "will be good" if she comes to power.
"We have a long history of maintaining good relations with India and China. Particularly immediately after independence. That was very much our foreign policy. Burma was one of the first countries in the world to recognise the Communist government of China at a time when we were extremely friendly with India," she said.
Suu Kyi said that she would like to play a role bring India and China together. It happened when she was asked whether she was worried or whether she welcomed the fact India and China could be rivals for Myanmar's friendship and to undertake projects in the country.
"I won't say it either worries me or I welcome it particularly. I believe, if we deal honestly and sincerely with both countries, we can be of help with regard to the relationship between both of them," she said.
Comparing Xi Jinping with Narendra Modi
Aung San Suu Kyi said that in June this year she had a very good meeting with China President Xi Jinping and "warmed" up to him. She then went on to compare Xi Jinping with Narendra Modi.
She said, "It was a good meeting. I was very pleased with it. He was easy to talk to. And he is obviously a leader. He doesn't have the reserve that PM Modi has." However, she said that Modi's reserved nature was not in any way a barrier.