'Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru are two Indian leaders I feel closest to': Aung San Suu Kyi
Chairperson of the National League of Democracy of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, today said Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were the two Indian leaders to whom she felt 'closest'.
"The survival of their relationship, which was both personal and political, in spite of their many differences is one of the triumphs of Indian politics," said Suu Kyi, while delivering the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture here.
The India-educated pro-democracy icon said Mahatma Gandhi's influence on her political thinking is widely recognised, but the influence of Nehru on her life in politics is less well known.
"The influence of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on my life and politics is less well known. Punditji was a name known to me since I was a little past of toddler's stage. My mother spoke of him as a real friend, almost a father figure," she said.
Suu Kyi said the 'links between the independence movements of our two countries and my personal tie to India inbuilt a special meaning for me'.
"The thought and actions of the leaders of the Indian Independence movement provided me with ideas and inspirations," she said.
Asserting that many of the challenges faced by Gandhi and Nehru along the path to India's independence were the ones her movement had been facing over the course of its struggle which will mark its quarter century next year, Suu Kyi also urged for India's support in the 'struggle' for democracy in Myanmar.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi in her address described Suu Kyi's five-day visit as 'something of a homecoming'.
"More than 20 years ago she was prevented from coming here to receive the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for international understanding. She is all the more welcome today. Daw San Suu Kyi, if I may say so, your coming to India after a quarter if a century may be something of a homecoming," said Gandhi.
"At a more personal level I am delighted to have this opportunity to renew links that go back to generations. Jawaharlal Nehru and your eminent father General Aung San held each other in high esteem," she added.
Gandhi, who is the chairperson of Nehru Memorial Fund, further said Suu Kyi's vision of politics as an 'ethical calling' has inspired people the world over.
San Suu Kyi met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh earlier today. Various issues including the national reconciliation process underway in Myanmar figured in the meeting.
The two leaders also agreed that people-to-people relations were important apart from holding discussions about greater cooperation between the Parliaments and judiciaries of the two countries.
Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Myanmar in May this year to strengthen trade links.