Yangon, Jun 22: In the first high-level Indian contact with Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met the Nobel laureate here and both expressed a desire for the bilateral relationship to “blossom and grow”.
Rao, who was here as part of the delegation of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during his three-day visit to Myanmar that ended today, called on Suu Kyi on Monday at her residence, official sources said.
The meeting, which was not part of Rao's schedule here, lasted for an hour, during which she “felicitated” Suu Kyi on her 66th birthday which was on Sunday, they said. “Both expressed a desire for this relationship to blossom and grow,” a source said.
Asked why Krishna, who headed the Indian delegation, did not meet Suu Kyi, the sources said he had a tight schedule and that the Indian Ambassador to Myanmar, V S Seshadri, had met her earlier.
Rao's meeting with Suu Kyi was, however, kept under wraps till the Indian delegation left the country. The sources privy to the conversation that took place between the two said that Suu Kyi recalled her days in India, including the time she spent with her Indian friends. Suu Kyi, who was recently freed from several years of house arrest, had done her Bachelors in Political Science from Lady Sri Ram College in New Delhi from where she graduated in 1964. She also lived in Shimla prior to her return to Myanmar in 1988.
The sources said Rao spoke to Suu Kyi about India's relationship with Myanmar, which recently got its first civilian government in years, and New Delhi's help to this country in various fields.
Suu Kyi, welcoming India's role as a partner in economic development of Myanmar, spoke about the need for greater people-to-people contacts, the sources said. She also spoke about the emotional and religious ties between the two countries.
As a prisoner in her own country, locked in her lakeside home in Yangon, Suu Kyi spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest. She was freed in November last year. PTI