Myanmar not part of ASEAN meet

India had been under pressure to avoid the country’s inclusion at the meeting

Updated - June 16, 2022 01:46 am IST

Published - June 15, 2022 10:02 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin. File

Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin. File | Photo Credit: R.V. MOORTHY

The Foreign Minister of Myanmar is unlikely to be part of the 24th ASEAN-India Ministerial here on Thursday, an official source indicated. 

Myanmar’s representation at the meeting has been in focus as India has been under pressure to avoid inclusion of Myanmar in the high-level meeting. 

The other factor behind this is the souring of ASEAN-Myanmar ties that were affected beginning with the February 1, 2021 coup that overthrew the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. 

The Hindu had earlier reported that India was unlikely to invite Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin. The Ministry of External Affairs had last week announced that the participation of Myanmar in the ASEAN India Senior Officials’ Meeting will follow the “ASEAN consensus”.

The non-participation of Wunna Maung Lwin in Thursday’s meet is being interpreted as India accommodating international concern over the junta in Myanmar which has refused to enter into a negotiation with the protesters demanding restoration of democracy. In comparison, the Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin had participated in the BIMSTEC summit in a virtual format earlier. That participation had drawn criticism from the United States. 

However, Myanmar Senior General and de facto ruler Min Aung Hlaing sent a message for the 25th anniversary of BIMSTEC - Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation - on June 6 in which he wished “peace and prosperity” for the Bay of Bengal community. 

Wednesday’s meeting witnessed India welcoming “positive contributions of and continued support of Singapore” in strengthening ASEAN-India relations as the Country Coordinator. “The ASEAN side appreciated India’s support to ASEAN and ASEAN-led architecture in the region,” said a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs. The delegates reviewed political-security, economic and socio-cultural relationship between the ASEAN and India. Following the meeting, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan met J.P. Nadda, National President of Bharatiya Janata Party as a special gesture to mark 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations.

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