Aung San Suu Kyi Urges India’s Support for Democracy in Burma

Posted November 14th, 2012 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is calling for India's support in helping Burma achieve democracy.

She made the comments Wednesday during a visit to New Delhi aimed at restoring ties between the Burmese opposition and India.

During a lecture commemorating former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Aung San Suu Kyi said Burma was still trying to achieve democracy and that “we hope that in this last and most difficult phase, the people of India will stand by us.”

Earlier in the day, the opposition leader met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had invited Aung San Suu Kyi to New Delhi during a visit to Burma in May of this year.

India was one of Aung San Suu Kyi's strongest supporters in her fight against Burma's military junta. But in the mid 1990s, India changed direction and began to engage with the country's oppressive former military rulers.

Addressing that time period in her speech, Aung San Suu Kyi said “I was saddened to see that we had drawn away from India, or rather that India had drawn away from us during our very difficult days, but I always had faith in the lasting friendship between our two countries based on lasting friendships between our two peoples.”

Aung San Suu Kyi spent most of the last two decades in Burma under house arrest or other forms of detention under the former leadership. A nominally civilian leadership came to power last year, allowing her to successfully run for a seat in parliament.

On Wednesday, the Burmese opposition leader visited the memorials of Indian independence leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru. During her visit to India this week, Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with parliament, inspect rural development projects, and visit her alma mater, the Lady Shri Ram College for Women in New Delhi.

Aung San Suu Kyi studied politics in New Delhi after her mother, Khin Kyi, was appointed as Burma's ambassador to India in 1960.