Indian vice-president Hamid Ansari feels his country's polity offers a 'ready model' for Myanmar as it seeks to institutionalise democracy through the Nov 2015 elections.
“As Myanmar readies for its tryst with democracy, India offers a ready model for a diverse and democratic set up,” Ansari said, while speaking at the launch of a book at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
The book, by India's former ambassador to Myanmar, Rajiv Bhatia, is titled “India-Myanmar Relations”.
Ansari suggested that India can be a large and proximate market to Myanmar for its agricultural produce and a source of technology and industrial expertise. He said there is room for both countries to enhance cooperation in security and defence matters.
Bhatia said Myanmar's importance in Indian foreign policy has been growing.
“Since 2011, it has received sustained high level attention as a neighbour of strategic significance, a leading member-state of ASEAN, and a potent bridge linking South Asia, Southeast Asia and China,” Bhatia said.
Bhatia has been the former head of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
He said through his book he has attempted “a comprehensive evaluation of India's multi-faceted relations with Myanmar”.
“As a large neighbour linked to Myanmar through ties of history, culture, religion, ethnicity, economy, diaspora and common interests, India would ardently hope that our eastern neighbour keeps advancing on the path of stability and national reconciliation, democratic and inclusive governance, progress and prosperity," he said.
Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, also a former envoy to Myanmar, in his address, said despite its proximity to India and the strong historical and cultural bonds that both countries share, "there is a sense of being strangers passing each other in the night”.
Saran said Myanmar is going through a 'fascinating political, economic and social transition'.
He described the Nov 2015 polls as 'historic and transformative' and said the world will also look forward to the presidential elections in 2016.