Thailand, India have to work together to address Myanmar crisis: Vice minister | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Thailand, India have to work together to address Myanmar crisis: Vice minister

Feb 26, 2024 08:13 PM IST

Thai vice minister for foreign affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow emphasised the need to speed up efforts to forge a strategic partnership between Thailand and India

NEW DELHI: Thailand and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have to work with India to address the crisis in Myanmar though a solution can only be found by parties within the country, Thai vice minister for foreign affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow said on Monday.

Thai vice minister for foreign affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Thailand would like to work with India, in partnership, on the question of Myanmar. (File Photo/AP)
Thai vice minister for foreign affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Thailand would like to work with India, in partnership, on the question of Myanmar. (File Photo/AP)

Phuangketkeow, part of the delegation accompanying Thai deputy prime minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara on an official visit, said developments following the 2021 coup in Myanmar have affected both Thailand and India. Regional players have no choice but to find ways to implement Asean’s five-point consensus formula to find a way out of the crisis in Myanmar.

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“In the end, all of us have to pitch in to help Myanmar return to the path of peace and democracy,” he said during a lecture at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA). “We would like to work with India, in partnership, on the question of Myanmar.”

However, outside players can “only do so much” and eventually the parties within Myanmar have to solve the problem, he said. “We can entice them, persuade them, maybe a little bit of coercion but they will have to decide what is the future of Myanmar,” he added.

Phuangketkeow was critical of Asean’s policy of non-interference, saying rigid adherence to it could lead to the grouping being “paralysed on many important issues”. In the context of Myanmar, he said talking about domestic issues is intended to help an Asean member state out of a difficult situation. The principle of non-interference cannot be used as a “blank cheque to do whatever you want against your people”, he said.

The crisis in Myanmar has prolonged for more than three years with no end in sight, and a beginning can be made with Asean’s five-point consensus, which has so far remained a “blueprint on paper”, by working for a reduction in violence, cessation of hostilities and humanitarian assistance and dialogue, Phuangketkeow said.

Phuangketkeow emphasised the need to speed up efforts to forge a strategic partnership between Thailand and India, something that was first talked about 12 years ago. During this period, India has established strategic partnerships with Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and a comprehensive strategic partnership with Vietnam.

Deputy prime minister Bahiddha-Nukara and external affairs minister S Jaishankar will co-chair the bilateral joint commission meeting on Tuesday, and Phuangketkeow said he hoped the Thai side will be able to convince India during these discussions that the time has come to move “towards a strategic partnership that fits the level of relations between our two countries”.

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