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Myanmar military supremo begins visit to India.

Summary: New Delhi/Yangon, July 25, 2010, SPA -- Myanmar&'s junta chief Senior General Than Shwe on Sunday began a five-day visit to India amid protests and criticism from human rights groups and Myanmar exiles, according to dpa. Than Shwe arrived in the temple town of Bodh Gaya...

Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Than Shwe on Sunday began a five-day visit to India amid protests and criticism from human rights groups and Myanmar exiles, according to dpa. Than Shwe arrived in the temple town of Bodh Gaya in eastern Bihar state, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site, officials said. The 77-year-old military ruler was scheduled to hold prayers in the evening and visit the Bodhi tree under which Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. He is to be accorded a ceremonial welcome at India's Presidential Palace in the capital on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting with President Pratibha Patil. Myanmar and India expect to forge closer economic and security ties and sign a clutch of pacts after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Than Shwe on Tuesday, Indian diplomats said. Than Shwe heads the State Peace and Development Council, as Myanmar's junta styles itself. He last visited India in October 2004. India has cultivated close diplomatic ties with military-run Myanmar, also known as Burma, over the past decade to pursue economic and security interests and counterbalance China's growing clout in the country, which sits between the two Asian giants. Myanmar government sources said Than Shwe's visit was "religious in nature," although it would include discussions on border security and economic cooperation. Than Shwe's visit, at the invitation of Patil, has drawn criticism from Myanmar exiles and rights groups.

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Publication:Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
Date:Jul 25, 2010
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