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Published on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 20:52
Aung San Suu Kyi seen at the Yangon International Airport to depart for India on November 12
(Photo - Aung Zaw Tun/EMG)
President Thein Sein is quite apart from the military, Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi of National League for Democracy, Myanmar opposition party said in an interview with the Hindu newspaper of India on October 31.
The interview was stated by the Hindu newspaper on November 13.
"In fact, the President is quite apart from the military. The military is the military, and the executive is the executive. This is what I mean by saying that the Constitution is hardly democratic. So until we know the military is solidly behind the reform process, because the President certainly does not represent the military, then we can’t say this is irreversible," the opposition leader said.
When she was asked about "what is the test of that, for you to believe that it is irreversible?", "I think the test would be their preparedness to consider changing the sections in the Constitution that are not democratic," the NLD chairperson added.
Regarding the question of "how much credit would you give to President Thein Sein for his role in this whole process?", "I think he needs to be given credit, but I do not think he’s the only one who brought it about," she answered.
When she was asked about the 2008 Constitution, she replied "The 2008 Constitution gives too much power to the military. The military may take over the powers of government if they think it’s necessary; and of course, 25 per cent of all the assemblies, both at the national and regional level, are made up of military nominees, unelected. It doesn’t worry me unduly, because it gives us an opportunity to engage with members of the military; but of course, it is hardly what you would call a democratic way of going about it. And then, the regional governments do not actually have real power. It’s still a very centralized system and such a centralized system is not going to promote democratic values, but more important than that, it’s not going to promote ethnic harmony."
Regarding the questions of "one message that you would want to give to Indian investors, what you would tell them?", she answered," I would like to say, of course we are interested in basics such as job creation, on the job training. But I would like India to focus attention on strengthening local government. We are a union made up of many ethnic nationalities, and I would like would-be investors to focus on how to bring us closer together as a union. But at the same time, to be fully aware of the fact that development is no substitute for democracy. And that the aspirations of our ethnic nationalities go beyond mere development.
She added, "I’d like to see a closer relationship between our two peoples, because I’ve always felt we had a special relationship — India and Burma — because of our colonial history, and because of the fact that the leaders of our independence movement were so close to one another."
Suu Kyi has been currently on a visit to India in 25 years since she last visited India in 1987 before she returned to Myanmar to look after her then ailing mother and moved into Myanmar's political arena.
While in New Delhi, she will visit Lady Shri Ram College from where she had graduated a degree of politics and meet the students in the morning of November 16, and then Myanmar families in the evening.
Suu Kyi will make a study tour to the rural development project in Bengaluru on November 17. She will also visit the India Institute of Science (IIS) in the evening of November 17 and then head to Thailand. She is due to go back home on November 18.
Ref: The Hindu newspaper