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India issues strong rebuke of Myanmar’s junta

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Protesters take cover behind homemade shields as they confront the police during a crackdown on demonstrations against a recent military coup, in Hlaing Tharyar Township, in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 14, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

India has censured the Myanmarese military's violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, calling for the release of political detainees and for democracy to be restored in the Southeast Asian country.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi slammed Myanmar's junta at a media briefing in the capital, New Delhi, on Friday, urging the military regime to end violence.

"We believe that the rule of law should prevail. We stand for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar," Bagchi said, adding that India was ready to play a "balanced and constructive role" to resolve the crisis.

"We have urged the release of political prisoners and support any attempts at resolving the current situation, including through the efforts of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations)," he said.

The Indian official denounced "any use of violence" in Myanmar and said New Delhi was "engaged" in international efforts to resolve the crisis in the country, including at the United Nations Security Council, where it is a non-permanent member.

Myanmar has been convulsed by mass protests since the military ousted de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1. Suu Kyi and several other political leaders were arrested over election fraud allegations.

The Myanmarese people have since been protesting the military takeover of power on the streets.

The international community has repeatedly called for the restoration of civilian rule in the country. But the junta has remained intransigent.

On Wednesday, the Security Council held an emergency session on Myanmar, following a particularly brutal crackdown by the military on protesters over the weekend.

Meanwhile, some 20 armed groups in Myanmar have expressed an intention to fight the junta, and the risk of civil war has emerged.

At least 521 civilians have so far been killed in the two months of protests against the coup.

India had so far refused to reject the coup in Myanmar.

India has long sought to build closer ties with Myanmar and has invested in projects in the country worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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