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India, Burma Sign Bilateral Agreements  - 2004-10-25


Burma's military ruler, General Than Shwe, held talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today (Monday).

After the talks, the two sides also signed bilateral agreements on trade, cooperation in Burma's hydro-electric projects and a cultural exchange program.

A delegation of Burmese cabinet ministers is accompanying the general, who arrived in New Delhi Sunday on a six-day visit the first such trip by a Burmese head of state in 24 years.

India is one of only a few countries that maintains close ties with Burma, which is shunned by most democratic nations due to the Rangoon government's harsh treatment of pro-democracy activists, including detained Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

(India's welcome for the Burmese general has been criticized by those say it sends the wrong message to the international community and to the people of Burma struggling for democracy.

(General Than Shwe's trip comes after one week after the ouster of Burma's prime minister, Khin Nhunt, who supported talks with Burma's pro-democracy leaders.)

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