Myanmar’s State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, landed in Goa on Sunday ahead of the BRICS-Bimstec Outreach Summit and a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After her party National League of Democracy swept the parliamentary elections and was installed in office earlier this year, this is the Nobel laureate’s first visit to India.
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Suu Kyi is scheduled to attend a ceremonial lunch hosted by Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar for all participants of Bimstec, after which she will attend the BRICS and Bimstec Outreach Summit later in the evening, with other leaders of the two groupings. As host of this year’s BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit, India, as is the practice, can invite neighbouring countries to join in for an outreach summit.
Following last month’s cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers, India chose to invite countries belonging to the Bimstec grouping over those of Saarc. Countries belonging to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) are India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
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New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed for the September 18 Uri attack and launched a diplomatic blitz to isolate Islamabad in the international community. The invitation to Bimstec countries instead of the Saarc countries is being seen as another step in this direction. Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives are the members of the South Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) that are also not members of Bimstec.