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US wants India to persuade Burmese Gen on democracy

July 29, 2010 11:58 IST

As the top Burmese General Than Shwe concluded his visit to India, the US has hoped that New Delhi would leverage its good contacts with the military ruler to convince him about the need to address the concerns of the international community on restoration of democracy and protection of human rights of his own people.

"We hope that India will use its leverage, its investment, to convince Burma and its leaders to improve its record regarding human rights and democracy," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told the media on Thursday.

Noting that the US recognises that India and Burma, as neighbors have a relationship, Crowley said the Obama Administration has spoken to New Delhi about the nature of this relationship.

"We think it's important for Burma to hear not only from the United States, but also from other regional leaders, India foremost among them," he said.

Before the visit of the Burmese general, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell had recently said the United States is seeking New Delhi's help in achieving its goal of democracy and protection of human rights in Burma.

"We have raised Burma in our conversations with Indian interlocutors. We've made very clear to Indian friends that we think India's very important role in the international community gives it a voice," he said.

"We've asked them to encourage interlocutors inside the country to embrace reform, to free political prisoners and to engage more responsibly with the international community," he said in response to a question on India's role in Burma.

The head of Myanmar's ruling military junta Gen Than Shwe arrived in India last week for a five-day state visit.

"Our conversations suggest that Indian friends have taken steps over a period of years and are beginning to play perhaps a more active role in this regard," said Campbell, who early this year was in New Delhi to discuss with Indian officials about its Look East Policy including Burma.

"They've also been very clear that they have strategic interests. We respect those, but we also want to work closely with not just India, but other countries in Southeast Asia, on encouraging this group of military leaders in Naypyidaw to take more responsible choices," he said.
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