Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Thursday said that had Mahatma Gandhi been alive he would have been “vocal” about his “disapproval” of India’s stand regarding her country. “I think Mahatma Gandhi would have been very vocal about his disapproval,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was influenced by the Mahatma, told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme. “I think he [Mahatma Gandhi] would have stood by us ... he would have insisted that India stand by us because that was the kind of man he was,” she said.
Ms. Suu Kyi said she was “saddened” by India’s stand, particularly because she felt close to India.
While delivering the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture on Wednesday, she had said that she was saddened that India had drawn away from Myanmar in its “most difficult days” and hoped New Delhi would stand by her country and help it achieve democracy.
However, Ms. Suu Kyi on Thursday said that one had to be pragmatic about it because, “I know that government sometimes take a path which is best for their country rather than best for others.”
Asked if she felt betrayed, given her long association in India, the chairperson of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy replied in negative. “No ... No, I never felt like that. I don’t think we have the right to demand loyalty or support from anybody. We have to work for that loyalty and support. I felt saddened by it ... that was all. It did not stay on my mind. There are many other things we have to think about and many quarters from the globe from where we have to try to get support,” she said.
Ready to contest
Ms. Suu Kyi, who has strongly advocated amendments to Myanmar’s constitution for free and fair elections, said she has no hesitation about contesting for the presidency in the next election due in 2015. “I don’t have any hesitations. What is democratic politics about if we don’t try to win for our party and if my party wins, obviously I would like to be the leader of that party which means the leader of that government,” she said.
Ms. Suu Kyi said Myanmar could move towards the “right path of democracy” only with the army’s support. She expressed her desire to see the army “again as the kind of army my father wished it to be.”
“The powers of the army over the civilian government are woven into the Constitution. So it’s only with the willing cooperation of the army that we can move Burma along the right path to democracy without violence,” she said.