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One has to make allowances for friends: Suu Kyi on India

December 15, 2012 20:27 IST

She may have been unhappy with India for engaging with Myanmar's military junta but pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday said she has no "misgivings" in this regard as "allowances" have to be made for "friends" even if they go "astray" at times.

After a 40-minute meeting with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is in Yangon on his first official bilateral visit, the opposition leader said she would want India to look at the situation in Myanmar, which is in transition from one form of governance to another, "in a very practical way".

She also expressed her concern about right sequencing, saying "it is not just about speed that is everything" and talked about need to address basic social issues of education and healthcare.

"No. I never had misgivings with India. I have said there were times when I felt sad but you have to make allowances for friends.

"If you are fond of your friends, you have to accept that sometimes they go astray and sometimes we do and that's no reason for us to suffer," she said.

67-year-old Suu Kyi was replying to a query if she had any misgivings with India and if yes whether she had forgotten it.

During her visit to India last month, Suu Kyi had said she was saddened that India was drawn away from Myanmar in its "most difficult days" and hoped it will stand by her country in achieving democracy.

"I was saddened to feel that we were drawn away from India, or rather India was drawn away from us during our most difficult days," Myanmar's opposition leader had said.

During the meeting at her lake-side residence, where she was kept captive by military junta for nearly 21 years from 1989 to 2010, Indian side also briefed her about the India-assisted Yagoon Children's hospital and Settwe hospital.

Asked what she expects from India as Myanmar walks towards democracy, she said, "Would want India to look at the situation in a very practical way to try to assess what our real needs are because I am very concerned about right sequencing".

Suu Kyi, who has studied in New Delhi's Lady Sri Ram College added: "It's not just about speed that is everything. If India could be aware of what our present problems are and which ones need to be tackled first and go about it.

"And secondly whatever you do I would want the people to be involved as far as possible because unless you empower the people along the way to democracy, you won't really get there in the way we would like to get there".

The Nobel laureate said that she would like "exchanges" that would enable people to get to know one another more to appreciate the differences.

"And it's always important to appreciate differences rather than similarities," she said.

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