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Over 100 MPs from the world’s largest democracy, India have called on President Thein Sein to free the country’s political prisoners.
The call was made by a grouping of Indian MP’s known as the Indian Parliamentarians’ Forum for Democracy in Burma (IPFDB), and its convenor Ram Jethmalani told the Indo Asian News Service (IANS) that;
“We, Indian parliamentarians, hope to see a genuine democratic system in Burma and … call upon the government to release all political prisoners in the country.”
Indian policy towards Burma’s government has warmed over the past 20 years as it pursued a ‘look east’ policy and sort to compete with China over smaller regional nations.
“Their release will be a positive step in the spirit of conciliation and dialogue that Burma now needs,” Jethmalani added.
Jethmalani is an upper house MP for western Rajasthan state, for the Bhartiya Janata Party, but the IPFDB is a cross party grouping that was formed in 2005 with patronage from now deceased Gandhian social activist and MP Nirmala Deshpande.
Indian policy however has veered towards non-interference and even actively supporting the Burmese military in instances like ‘Operation Leech‘ in which Burmese dissidents were lured to the Indian Andaman Islands, to also joint operations in their north eastern states in fighting insurgents.
Burma meanwhile has nearly 2,000 political prisoners behind bars, of whom 17 are DVB journalists.