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Suu Kyi to visit India this week

Burma's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi inspects a guard of honour during her ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi, India, 18 October 2016. (PHOTO: REUTERS)

Burma’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will pay a visit to India later this week at the invitation of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Burmese Ministry of Information has announced.

Suu Kyi, who also serves as Burma’s foreign minister, is scheduled to attend an event in New Delhi on 25-26 January to mark the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit. Other Southeast Asian leaders will also attend the summit.

The Burmese state counsellor will also attend another ceremony on 26 January, this time to commemorate the 69th Republic Day of India.

Republic Day is a national holiday in India, and marks the date in 1950 when India’s constitution came into force, effectively completing the country’s transition towards becoming an independent republic.

Suu Kyi last paid an official visit to India in October 2016. Modi reciprocated with a trip to Naypyidaw in September last year, when both countries agreed to enhance military cooperation, a move seen by many as an attempt by New Delhi to thwart China’s dominance in the region.

But relations between Suu Kyi and India were not always so warm. As opposition leader, she spoke out against the Indian government’s support for the then ruling military junta in Burma.

Following her father’s assassination in 1947, a young Suu Kyi went into exile in New Delhi with her family. Her mother served for a time as Burmese ambassador while Suu Kyi studied. She graduated from Lady Shri Ram college in New Delhi with a degree in politics before moving to England.