India to boost democratic practices in Myanmar

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 15:30 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) A parliamentary delegation from Myanmar Monday called on Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who assured the Southeast Asian country of India's support in evolving its own parliamentary procedures and norms.

The parliamentary delegation, led by Thura U. Shwe Mann, speaker of the lower house of the Myanmar parliament, began a week-long visit to India Sunday. The delegation has been invited by Vice President Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

The delegation called on Kumar at Parliamentary Library building and discussed issues relating to parliamentary procedures and norms.

The delegation is expected to meet Ansari, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

They are also expected to meet Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and observe the proceedings of both houses of parliament.

The state visit by Myanmar President U. Thein Sein in October signalled India's move to accelerate its economic and political engagement with Myanmar. The democratic reforms initiated by the new government has attracted positive global attention and have also been welcomed by the hitherto sceptical West. In fact, taking note of the changes, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first top US diplomat to visit Myanmar in over five decades.

The idea of intensifying parliamentary exchanges emanated from the discussions during Thein Sein's visit to India.

India has welcomed the reforms process initiated by the Thein Sein government over the last few months and intensified its diplomatic and economic initiatives with the gas-rich Southeast Asian country. Marking a new high in its relations, India announced $500 million for a host of development projects in Myanmar.

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