India on Tuesday extended its support to the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Myanmar with Deputy NSA (National Security Advisor) Rajinder Khanna present at the signing ceremony.
Two ethnic armed groups located in areas bordering Thailand-New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) entered the agreement today after talks held with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmarese Army commander-in-chief last month.
Suu Kyi has been seeking to revive the peace process to end a decade-long conflict between armed rebels seeking secession and government and military. The worst fighting has been witnessed in last two years since she occupied the top job.
Reacting to today’s signing ceremony, MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) Spokesperson Ravish Kumar said , “India supports the Myanmar peace process. Comprehensive peace and national reconciliation in Myanmar will also be conducive for the peace and prosperity of the north eastern states of India.”
The NCA that first came into force in October 2015 saw eight armed ethnic groups enter the fold but are yet to disarm.
India along with China, Japan, Thailand, UN and EU had been invited to sign the NCA as international witnesses.
NSA Ajit Doval had then attended the ceremony. India today called Khanna’s presence its “continued support to the peace process in Myanmar”.
“Deputy NSA Rajinder Khanna signs Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in plenary ceremony on behalf of #India as an international witness, reaffirming India’s solidarity with peace in Myanmar,” tweeted Vikram Misri, Indian Ambassador in Naypyitaw.
However, at least ten rebel groups are not a part of the agreement yet that allows signatories to participate in a peace conference named “Union Peace Conference — 21st Century Panglong” to discuss establishment of a federal system guaranteeing autonomy of each ethnic group and process of disarmament.
Addressing the gathering, Suu Kyi said, “This is the decision to make the first step to jointly lay the foundation stone of the Democratic Federal Republic that will emerge in the future for the national reconciliation and union peace.”
The Myanmarese government has been in the eye of an international storm following exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine State last August, termed as “ethnic cleansing” by the UN, though Myanmar denies the charges.