Prime minister Manmohan Singh will meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi next week during the first visit by an Indian premier to Myanmar in a quarter of a century, according to her party.
India has faced international criticism in the past for its engagement with Myanmar’s former junta, and Singh’s meeting with the veteran activist is seen as a sign that Delhi wants to reaffirm ties with the democracy activist.
Nyan Win, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), said the talks would take place on Tuesday, pushing back plans for the Nobel laureate to visit Bangkok in her first foreign trip in 24 years.
“She will fly to Thailand to attend the World Economic Forum (on East Asia) on Tuesday evening,” he told AFP on Friday,without giving further details.
Singh will also meet President Thein Sein, who is credited with instigating a series of political reforms in the country formerly known as Burma, on Monday in the capital Naypyidaw, according to Myanmar government officials.
Once an outspoken supporter of Suu Kyi, India began engaging the Myanmar junta in the mid-1990s on security and energy issues and as a counter to China’s growing strategic influence.
The country’s dealings with Myanmar’s previous military regime drew international concern, however, with US President Barack Obama chiding New Delhi during a visit to India in 2010 for not speaking out over human rights abuses in the country.
Suu Kyi has a strong personal tie to India, where she studied while her mother was ambassador there.
The democracy icon, who entered parliament for the first time this month, also plans to travel to Europe in June.
The trip will include a visit to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991 and to Britain, where she lived for years with her family.
Suu Kyi’s visit to Bangkok is expected to be brief, with the opposition leader spending just one night in the Thai capital before returning to Yangon, a member of her security detail said.