Myanmar can learn from India as it fashions its federal policy


Indian Ambassador Vikram Misri speaking at the forum. Photo: Mizzima

Indian Ambassador Vikram Misri held up the country's federal polity as a model for Myanmar during the Forum on Myanmar's Democratic Transition being held in Nay Pyi Taw.

"We in India do diversity with a capital D. We are happy with more and more powers to the state. That does not weaken our country, it makes it strong," Misri said during three days of deliberations on Myanmar's democratic transition that began on Friday.

It has brought together 35 speakers from Myanmar, other Asian and Western countries to reflect on the progress of democratisation in Myanmar.

Misri, who was earlier ambassador in Spain, said federalism generates a huge stake in the country's future and progress by a wide cross-section of people.

"What has happened in India will also play out in Myanmar. If you create an inclusive federation, it will strengthen your unity and not weaken you," Misri said.

The Indian envoy also referred to Nepal's effort to create a federation and said Myanmar has many lessons to learn from the successes and failures in the tiny Himalayan country.

"Nepal first started with a polity that would exclude the minorities or most of them. Obviously there were huge protests because that was not acceptable to most," Misri said.

He said the debates thus generated have helped Nepal slowly reach the goals of an inclusive federalism.

"The process is not yet complete. Nepal is yet to get a constitution and has suffered chronic legislative instability. Myanmar can closely look at the Nepal experience to avoid the mistakes they made," Misri said.

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