India-Myanmar Friendship Driven by Quest for Mutual Peace, Progress, Prosperity, Says Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind and President of Myanmar U. Win Myint. (Photo Credit: ANI | Twitter)

Nay Pyi Taw, December 12: The friendship between India and Myanmar is not driven by short-term goals, but by a lasting quest for mutual peace and prosperity, President Ram Nath Kovind has said as he extended New Delhi's support for preserving the unity and territorial integrity of the neighbouring country. Speaking at the State Banquet hosted by his Myanmarese counterpart U Win Myint on Tuesday, Kovind stressed that India's partnership with Myanmar is at the important intersection between friendship, neighbourhood and shared core interests.

He appreciated Win Myint, First Lady Daw Cho Cho and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for the generosity and hospitality accorded to him, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. "Because our destinies are inter-twined and inter-linked, our friendship is driven not by short-term goals, but by a larger and lasting quest for mutual peace, progress and prosperity," Kovind, who became the first state guest after Win Myint assumed office as the President of Myanmar, said. President Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind to Leave for Myanmar Today.

He said both the sides are working tirelessly to enhance the intensity of the bilateral engagement through increased connectivity, capacity-building and growing commercial and cultural exchanges. "We are aware of the challenges Myanmar faces in taking forward the peace process, national reconciliation and economic recovery. "The government and people of India stand by you. We are in full support of your peace process and in preserving the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar, all of which are fundamentally in our own interests as well," Kovind said, adding without that, India cannot succeed in its effort to bring development, prosperity and connectivity to its citizens in the Northeast, which borders Myanmar.

He said that the two countries are bound together by shared waters, forests and hills, by culture, cuisine, language and history. "And more profoundly, by the blessings of Lord Buddha. These are the bedrock of our relationship, which provide it strength and a unique emotional connect," he said. The vibrant Indian-origin community, which has made Myanmar their home, is an organic link between the two countries, the president said.

"Our anti-colonial struggles and our shared aspirations bring us together as well. We gave home to each other when force and fate defeated us. King Thibaw spent his days in Ratnagiri and Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in Yangon. We have, indeed, been friends in prosperity and as much in adversity," Kovind said. The propagation of vipassana, a meditation technique developed and practiced by Lord Buddha, owes so much to the pioneering work of Satya Narayan Goenka, who received his initial lessons from Sayagyi U Ba Khin, he said. "We fondly remember Daw Tint Tint, or Usha Narayanan, the daughter of Myanmar, who became the First Lady of India," Kovind said.