Restoring democratic order should be the priority of all stakeholders in Myanmar: India at UNGA

United Nations, Feb 27 (PTI) Restoring democratic order in Myanmar should be the priority of all stakeholders and the detained leaders be released, India has told a UN General Assembly meeting, calling on the leadership in the Southeast Asian nation to work together to resolve their differences in a “peaceful and constructive manner”.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti made the comments on Friday at an informal General Assembly meeting on the situation in Myanmar after the military staged a coup this month.

India shares a land and maritime border with Myanmar and has direct stakes in the maintenance of peace and stability. The recent developments in Myanmar are therefore being closely monitored by India. We remain concerned that the gains made by Myanmar over the last decades on the path towards democracy should not get undermined, he said.

Tirumurti said India believes the rule of law and democratic process must be upheld, those detained be released and that calm prevails.

“We call on the Myanmar leadership to work together to resolve their differences in a peaceful and constructive manner, he said.

On February 1, the military seized power in Myanmar and detained de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other top political leaders in the bloodless coup.

Tirumurti said India, as the largest democracy, has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar for it to emerge as a stable democratic federal union and a significant area of New Delhi’s focus has been capacity building, including in the areas of constitution and federalism for political leaders and elected representatives.

India as a close friend and neighbour of Myanmar and its people, will continue to closely monitor the situation and will remain in discussion with like-minded countries so that the hopes and aspirations of the people are respected.

“Restoring democratic order should be the priority of all stakeholders in Myanmar, he said, adding that the international community must lend its constructive support to the people of Myanmar at this critical juncture.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN defied the country’s army on Friday and issued an impassioned plea at the UNGA for immediate international action to help overturn the military coup.

Kyaw Moe Tun, remaining loyal to the ousted civilian government, delivered a dramatic speech while addressing the assembly.

The envoy said he was representing the NLD-led civilian government.

He denounced the coup and appealed for all member states and the UN to strongly condemn the military coup, and not recognise by any means the military regime.

In addition to the existing support, we need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore democracy, the Myanmar envoy said, choking up as he spoke.

He gave the three-fingered salute adopted by protesters in Myanmar and said, we continue to fight for a government which is of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener urged the General Assembly to collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar.

At this moment, democratic processes have been pushed aside and elected leaders including the State Counsellor and President of the Union Republic remain detained, she said.

Burgener said there is no justification for the military’s actions, and we must continue to call for the reversal of this impermissible situation, exhausting all collective and bilateral channels to restore Myanmar’s path on democratic reform.

She further described as deeply troubling the ongoing arrests of political leaders, including elected NLD parliamentarians, government officials, civil society actors and media representatives. The use of lethal force and rising deaths, unacceptable.

Noting that the takeover has not stabilised , the UN official said the international community must not lend legitimacy or recognition to this regime .

Tirumurti, addressing the issue of displaced persons from the Rakhine state of Myanmar, said India has the highest stake in resolving the issue of repatriation of the displaced persons since it is the only country that shares a long border with both Bangladesh and Myanmar.

We have continued to counsel our partners on the need for a balanced and constructive approach to this issue. For this, mobilisation of support for the developmental needs of the local people is crucial. India has been consistently encouraging stakeholders to find practical and pragmatic solutions, he said.

Tirumurti emphasised the need for an early resolution of the issue of displaced persons from the Rakhine state of Myanmar, saying it must be ensured that the recent developments in Myanmar do not impede the progress made so far and the international community must encourage and support positive steps.