Myanmar an important member of BIMSTEC: India in response to US demarche

New Delhi, April 7 : India on Thursday emphasised that Myanmar is an important member of BIMSTEC, and it has always welcomed the participation of Nay Pyi Taw in activities of the seven-member grouping, in response to a US demarche on the participation of the junta-led government in the summit meeting on March 30. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in response to a question on the US demarche to India, said that it was the decision of the BIMSTEC chair, Sri Lanka, to invite Myanmar, and India respected the decision. He also said that Myanmar has a geography that can determine the success of the BIMSTEC grouping. “The decision of the chair, Sri Lanka in this case, which we respected, let me make clear, was that the Myanmar Foreign Minister attend the summit in virtual mode. “Let me emphasise that BIMSTEC is a grouping organised around the Bay of Bengal; it focuses on economic developmental cooperation…. Myanmar is an important member of this grouping, with an important geography that can determine the success of BIMSTEC. “We have always welcomed participation by Myanmar in BIMSTEC activities. “And as regards our position on the developments in Myanmar last year (February 1 coup), we have made clear where we stand and there will be no change in our desire for restoration of democracy in Myamar,” he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had participated in the 5th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit on March 30, virtually. Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin had represented Myanmar’s military on behalf of chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. The US had sent a diplomatic note asking India to convince the grouping to bar the participation of the Myanmar junta. It was the first BIMSTEC summit in four years. While the foreign ministers of six of the seven member countries flew to Colombo to participate in a physical meeting, the only absentee was Myanmar’s FM, who followed the events from Nay Pyi Taw. As the host nation, Sri Lanka decided to allow the military regime to participate, a condition that all the other members accepted. The US sent a diplomatic note to New Delhi expressing its discontent with the format. The démarche is believed to have requested India to follow in the footsteps of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in banning the junta from participating. BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional ty. It constitutes five from South Asia– Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia — Myanmar and Thailand. RN

Leave a Comment