United Nations: India has called for immediate phasing out of unilateral sanctions against Myanmar, emphasising that the international community should extend all possible support to Yangoon’s new civilian government to help accelerate economic development in the country that had faced economic isolation under years of military rule.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said as a “close and friendly” neighbour of Myanmar, India remains committed to extending all possible assistance and support to the process of national reconciliation and further strengthening of the democracy in Myanmar.
“As Myanmar confronts multifarious challenges ahead the international community as a whole needs to extend all possible support to the efforts of the government in a spirit of trust and cooperation,” he said during a meeting of the ‘Group of Friends’ of the UN chief on Myanmar here yesterday.
Given Myanmar’s political transition, Mathai said the UN agencies and international financial institutions now have the opportunity to carry out an entire gamut of developmental activities.
“We would also urge that unilateral sanctions should be immediately phased out so that Myanmar’s economic development can be accelerated. India has consistently emphasized the path of engagement with Myanmar to encourage the advancement of national reconciliation as well socio-economic development,” he said.
Following the implementation of political reforms by Myanmar, the US has been gradually lifting sanctions against the country. It had lifted sanctions on American investment in Myanmar in June and last week lifted long-standing sanctions on President Thein Sein and parliamentary speaker Thura Shwe Mann.
It would also begin easing restrictions on imports of goods from the south east Asian country in recognition of efforts by its government to bring the country back on the road to democracy.
India would be facilitating parliamentary exchanges between the two countries by sharing its experience. As many as 80 members would be participating in a programme developed by India that will focus on introduction to and training on parliamentary practices and procedures for members of the Myanmar parliament and parliamentary Secretariat officials.
Mathai said India is also working closely with Myanmar on various infrastructure and development cooperation projects, with particular attention to capacity building and human resource development.
“We believe Myanmar could play a great role in expanding our engagement into ASEAN. We look forward to Myanmar’s planned Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014,” Mathai said.