India and Myanmar Civil Societies deliberate on “Federalism” and building bridges of people between NE States and Myanmar, Yangon, Myanmar 19 October 2016

Yangon, Myanmar 19 October 2016:

While DawAung San SuuKyi was in Delhi on a two day sate visit, an important discussion between the two countries ensued in Yangon as part of a two-day “International Conference on India-Myanmar Relations: Federalism at Work.” The deliberations concluded successfully in Myanmar, focusing on building bridges of friendship between India and Myanmar. Organized by Heinrich BöllStiftung (HBS) Myanmar and India, the Institute of Social Sciences, Delhi, Burma Centre Delhi and The Voice Weekly Myanmar. The high level delegation from India included Mr. Rajiv Bhatia former ambassador of India to Myanmar, scholars and heads of prestigious institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Burdwan University, TERI University, Burma Center Delhi and Asian Confluence, Shillong.
In his opening address U Tin Yu, Deputy Director General of the Strategic Studies Department, Ministry of foreign Affairs of Myanmar, said “ The two governments are paying attention to the economics of our border areas. Recently, our President visited India and had a fruitful discussion with the Prime Minister of India. It is a new chapter in bilateral relations. State councilor is also paying a visit. This conference will enhance deeper coordination with India. Expressing similar sentiments, Mr. B. Shyam, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Indian Embassy in Yagon added “connectivity, banking, infrastructure, roads, livelihood, education, skills development are focus areas”. “Federalism and democracy go together. Federalism collapses in the absence of democracy. Federalism is not a solution to all problems and Myanmar has to finally evolve her own model” said Dr. Ash Narain Roy from the Institute of Social sciences.
“Federalism has its own system. We cannot copy the federalism of other countries as Myanmar is home to multi ethnic societies, we need to decide our federalism. It is very important for students to learn about federalism. I would like to suggest Indian friends to host a study tour for students from Myanmar”. Said Prof. Chaw ChawSein , University of Yangon.
Shri Rajiv Bhatia in his keynote address said: “ Our view is that India Myanmar Relationship is doing very well, but perhaps it is underperforming. Governments and businesses alone cannot fulfill the relationship. The civil society needs to play an active role”. This theme is echoed throughout the deliberations.
The Myanmar delegation was represented by University of Yangon, Sandhi Governance Institute, Pyo Pin Program, Yangon, Yangon School of Political science, Myanmar journalism Institute Yangon, Natural Resource Governance institute, Yangon, Chin Human Rights organization, Yangon, Smile Education and Development Foundation, Independent researchers, journalists and human rights activists.
“We have been moving forward with the idea of expanding dialogue between Myanmar and India since two to three years ago. We have been focusing on India’s Northeast. This part of India is peripheral and it has joint border with Myanmar. The boundaries where peripheries meet has a lot of interesting political impact. The discussion on Federalism is directly linked to this question” said Dr. Axel HarneitSievers Country Director , HBF , India. We are very glad to host such an important conclave at such an opportune time said Dr. MircoKreibich, HBS country Director, Yangon, Myanmar.