Obama hits out at Myanmar polls

Sunday, November 7, 2010

MUMBAI - US President Barack Obama Sunday told students here that elections in Myanmar would be anything but free and fair and exhorted everyone to speak up for democracy and freedom.

In remarks that may be seen as a subtle critique of India’s policy towards that country, Obama said: “There are elections that are being held right now in Burma, that will be anything but free and fair.”

He was addressing students at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai during the second day of his visit to India.

Myanmar, formerly called Burma, is holding the first elections in nearly two decades Sunday. The process is widely seen as lacking legitimacy.

“For too long the people of Burma have been denied the right to determine their own destiny,” he added.

One should stand up for freedom and democracy anywhere in the world, Obama stressed.

This could be seen as a subtle critique of India’s policy towards Myanmar which is seen by the US and Western countries as soft towards the junta. The US has been pressing India to play a more proactive role in pushing the junta towards genuine democracy.

The human rights situation in Myanmar may figure in discussions between the delegation-level talks in New Delhi Monday.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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