New Delhi, July 5: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Wednesday applauded neighbouring Myanmar's democractic transition, pointing out that its parliament had got "a new look" by providing a voice to diverse groups.
Welcoming a 10-member delegation of Myanmar parliamentarians, who are here to attend a week-long orientation programme organised by India's Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training (BPST) of the Lok Sabha Secretariat from Monday, Kumar also complimented the neighbouring country for its successful conduct of the bypolls recently.
Myanmar's key pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had won the bypoll and is now a member of the parliament there.
"The transition to democracy has given a new look to the Myanmarese parliament, giving voice to diverse groups," Kumar said.
"The officials of the Election Commission of India and media played a purposive role in completing the election process (in Myanmar)," she said, appreciating Myanmar's smooth transition towards multi-party democracy.
Noting that India and Myanmar share "a very special and close" relationship, Kumar said the South Asian nation, India, has "a strong desire" for peace and stability in Myanmar, which is the gateway to Southeast Asia.
Referring to the high-level visits in the recent past, which provided momentum to friendly relations between the two country, the speaker noted that several agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Myanmar in May 2012 included setting up of a Rice Bio Park, Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education, $500-million credit Line between Export-Import Bank of India and Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, cultural exchanges and academic ties.
She felt that these initiatives would create greater harmony in the bilateral ties and would bring the people of India and Myanmar closer.
Dwelling on the commercial and economic engagement between the two nations, Kumar observed that the existing bilateral trade is below potential and the same should be doubled by 2015.
She also felt that the mutual investments should be increased and entrepreneurs should be encouraged to further increase the trade.
Responding to Kumar, the Myanmar delegation's leader Ti Khun Myun said India has always been "a good and supporting friend and a great neighbour."
He also extended an invitation to Kumar to visit Myanmar along with an Indian parliamentary delegation.
The visiting Myanmar MPs are interacting with senior Indian parliamentarians and parliamentary officers on issues such as legislative process, questions and other procedural devices, budgetary process, committee system, parliamentary privileges, and support services for MPs.
In December last year, a Myanmar parliamentary delegation led by its speaker had visited India and had called on Kumar.
Then, the Lok Sabha speaker had emphasized on sharing India's parliamentary experience with other countries and offered Indian parliament's support in capacity-building for Myanmar MPs and parliamentary officials.
Accordingly, the Lok Sabha secretariat has taken forward the process of capacity-building of Myanmar parliament, with the support of the external affairs ministry.
In this background, 20 middle-level officers of the Myanmar parliament had attended a week-long programme in the BPST from June 11 to 15.