India on Tuesday hailed the signing of the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Myanmar by two of the country’s rebel groups saying this will be conducive for peace and prosperity in its own northeastern states.
The New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), both based near Myanmar’s border with Thailand, became the first signatories to the NCA under the current dispensation of the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy.
“India supports the Myanmar peace process,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, acknowledging the presence of an Indian representative in the event.
“Comprehensive peace and national reconciliation in Myanmar will also be conducive for the peace and prosperity of the northeastern states of India,” he said.
The NCA was a landmark ceasefire agreement between the government of Myanmar and representatives of various ethnic insurgent groups agreed upon in March 2015. In 2015, eight rebel groups signed the NCA under the administration of then President Thein Sein.
Those that have signed the NCA are allowed to participate in the “Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong” under the current government, which will discuss the establishment of a federal system guaranteeing the autonomy of each ethnic group and the process of disarmament.
Kumar, in his statement on Tuesday, said that “given the positive bilateral relationship between India and Myanmar and the significance for India of the Myanmar peace process”, Myanmar had earlier invited India, along with China, Japan, Thailand, UN and European Union to sign the NCA as international witnesses in October 2015.
He referred to the representation of India on that occasion by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval
“Today’s event is another step in the process with two more parties, the NMSP and the LDU, agreeing to sign the NCA,” Kumar said.
“The presence of our representative demonstrates India’s continued support to the peace process in Myanmar.”