SPA Chairman Serge Pun sounded upbeat during a session of the Myanmar Democratic Transition Forum today, noting how the fears of a block on democratic transition in his country may be misplaced.
“The army is not throwing its weight against democratic transition. So we are not doing too badly,” Serge Pun told the gathering at the forum.
The Myanmar Democratic Transition Forum is being held in Nay Pyi Taw over three days up until Sunday.
Serge Pun AKA U Theim Wai, the Chairman of SPA and FMI, told a session looking at the global overview of developments in Myanmar that a pragmatic approach is needed as the country transitions from the era of military dictatorship to full democracy.
"We need stability with democracy. We need to reform the military, not undermine its importance in national life,” he said.
Panelist Thant Myint-U said Myanmar's fate is in its own hands. It should look at its own situation and choose its own path of democracy.
"Political and economic corruption makes democratic transition very difficult, something Myanmar should remember," the author said.
'Hybrid regimes or semi-democracies may last longer than expected. They are becoming the norm rather than the exception," said Thant Myint U.
"We can do away with text book approaches to democracy and look at the issues more imaginatively to handle local realities," he added.
One country that has had a long track record with democracy is India, the largest democracy in the world.
Ambassador of India to Myanmar Vikram Misra told the forum that both democracy and peace need to be sustained and that the economic aspect of the transition is also important.
"In India , we do diversity with a capital D. If you do that, you will end up as a much stronger nation," Mr Misri said.
"Nepal failed to get a constitution despite getting a democracy. Myanmar needs to learn from that,” he said.
"India's constitution helped it satisfy aspirations of its diverse peoples. That could be a model for Myanmar,” said the Indian Ambassador.
Six plenary sessions bringing together more than thirty speakers will be followed by as many ‘winding-up’ interactive sessions that will seek out views from a cross section of more than 450 participants that would include special observers from foreign governments and global bodies who support Myanmar’s transition to democracy.