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Instability in Myanmar will affect India, says Indian representative to UN

FILE PHOTO: People carry goods from Myanmar and enter India through Indo-Myanmar Friendship Gate at Moreh, some 120 kms from Imphal, the capital city of Manipur state on March 10, 2017. (BIJU BORO/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shilpa Sharma

INDIA does not support any action by the international community that could cause further destablisation in Myanmar, India’s permanent representative to the UN and president of UN Security Council for August ambassador T S Tirumurti said.

Any instability in the Southeast Asian country will directly affect India, he said.

The Myanmar military staged a coup on February 1 this year, nullifying the results of the November 2020 elections and imposed a state of emergency. The military detained hundreds of activists, civil servants and politicians, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD).

“Myanmar is an extremely important neighbour for us….So what happens in Myanmar is extremely important for us and we have a direct stake in the situation in Myanmar,” Tirumurti said on Monday (2) during a press conference at the UN Headquarters on the Security Council’s Programme of Work.

India is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2021-22 tenure, and assumed its rotating Presidency for the month of August.

Tirumurti added that India’s position on Myanmar has been fairly clear and consistent.

“We are deeply concerned about the developments in Myanmar. We have condemned the use of violence in Myanmar. We have urged maximum restraint. We believe that there can be no falling back on the path to democracy in Myanmar,” he said.

He added that India has called for upholding the rule of law in Myanmar, taking forward the democratic process, and the release of detained leaders.

“We have repeatedly called for engagement from their side without preconditions and for the peaceful and urgent resolution.

“So, we need a constructive and also a coordinated approach. What we do not want is an action on the part of the international community which will further destabilise the country because any instability in the country will directly affect India,” he said.

Tirumurti clarified that India has not rejected any request from Myanmar asylum seekers.

“It’s completely incorrect that we are rejecting people (from Myanmar). We have several thousands of them in India,” he said.

He called for consensus on the ASEAN five-points, which states that there shall be an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint; constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence seeking a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.

The council has also expressed strong support for the ASEAN initiative and the five-point consensus, he said.

However, the council is not looking at any meeting on Myanmar at present.

On the Palestine issue, he said India has been consistent in “our longstanding support for the Palestinian cause and for the establishment of a sovereign, viable and an independent state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel.”

“We have been in touch with both the parties, and we are looking at a long-term ceasefire. The May 21 ceasefire was brought in due to concerted efforts of the international community,” he said.

At this point, the Security Council’s focus has been on humanitarian aid, which they feel should be going to Gaza through the Palestinian Authority, he said, adding that, “so we want to work with the Palestinian Authority on this.”

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