NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi about the importance of not giving any operating space to insurgent groups along the India-Myanmar border.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN summit in Bangkok on Sunday. Modi also expressed India’s readiness to execute socio-economic projects in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, largely considered to be the epicentre of the Rohingya crisis.
India shares a 1,640-km border with Myanmar along insurgency-hit states such as Manipur and Nagaland.
According to the external affairs ministry, the PM said the speedy, safe and sustainable return of displaced people from Bangladesh was in the best interest of the region and the three neighbouring countries — India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
An estimated 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine since 2017 after large-scale violence following a military crackdown. The exodus of refugees in large numbers has resulted in a major crisis in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi appreciated India’s consistent and sustained support for the widening of democracy, the MEA said in a statement.
“Modi emphasised India’s continuing commitment to improve physical connectivity to and through Myanmar to Southeast Asia, including through building road, port and other infrastructure.”
The two leaders agreed that people to people connectivity would help expand the base of the partnership, and therefore welcomed the expansion of air connectivity between the two countries.
Modi also held meetings with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.