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PM Narendra Modi to meet Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar

PTI 08 Nov 2014, 20:16:24 PM IST

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi among other leaders on the sidelines of the ASEAN and East Asian summits in Myanmar next week in his first interaction with the pro-democracy icon.

Modi leaves for Myanmar on November 11 on the first leg of his three-nation ten-day visit that will also take him to Australia and Fiji. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin replied in the affirmative when asked at a media briefing whether Prime Minister Modi will meet Aung San Suu Kyi.

"The Prime Minister will be meeting Aung San Suu Kyi," he said. Modi is also due to have a meeting with the host nation's President Thein Sein.

The spokesperson said the prime minister is extremely keen to meet as many people as possible during his foreign visits and there will be several meetings on the sidelines of the multilateral events. Modi will be also attending the G-20 summit in Brisbane on November 15-16.

Myanmar is in the midst of a national debate on whether to allow Suu Kyi, an opposition leader, to contest the 2015 parliamentary elections, which she is barred from at present, due to a provision in the Constitution. Suu Kyi had visited India in November 2012.

Myanmar is one of India's most important neighbours, both for security and as a gateway to Southeast Asia. An ambitious project is underway to develop a 3,200-km highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand. It was originally envisaged to be completed around 2017 but it is behind schedule and is now expected to be completed in 2018.

The 12th ASEAN-India summit and the 9th East Asian summit will take place in Nay Pyi Taw on November 12 and November 13 respectively.