Taking a firm stand against the coup in Myanmar, the US and India have called for a swift return to democracy in the country, an end to the use of violence and the release of all political detainees. In a Joint Statement issued following the first face-to-face bilateral meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Friday, the two leaders also called for the urgent implementation of the ASEAN Five Point consensus on Myanmar.
“The Leaders called for an end to the use of violence, for release of all political detainees, and for a swift return to democracy in Myanmar. They further called for the urgent implementation of the ASEAN Five Point Consensus,” the statement said.
Myanmar's military seized power on February 1 after overthrowing the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and declared a state of emergency. Suu Kyi is among an estimated 3,400 people still being held by the junta.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last month came up with a five-point consensus stating that there shall be an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint; constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.
It said a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the secretary-general of ASEAN; ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre (ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management); and the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.
The ASEAN is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia. Its members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
India has previously condemned the violence in Myanmar and condoled the loss of life, as it urged maximum restraint and called for the release of detained leaders. India has also emphasised the situation in Myanmar to be resolved peacefully and underlined its steadfast commitment to democratic transition.
According to a recent UN Development Programme report, the ongoing political crisis in Myanmar will further compound the socioeconomic impact of the Covid pandemic, reducing incomes.
In the worst-case scenario, nearly half of the population of Myanmar (48.2 per cent) will live in poverty (compared to the 24.8 per cent in 2017), reversing gains made since 2005, the report said, adding that if the situation on the ground persists, the poverty rate could double by the beginning of 2022.