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India and Myanmar to hold the first Joint Consultative Commission meeting on Friday

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New Delhi, (IANS): Against the backdrop of the 9 June Indian army surgical strike on northeast militants along their border, India and Myanmar will hold their first Joint Consultative Commission meeting here on Friday.

Co-chaired by Myanmar Foreign Minister U. Wunna Maung Lwin and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the JCC is a “recently created mechanism” between both countries. Officials of various other Indian ministries, including the defense and home ministries, would attend the meeting, said sources.

The involvement of the other ministries and institutions is expected to give a boost to the bilateral relations.

Wunna Maung Lwin on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

During the meeting, Modi fondly recalled his visit to Myanmar in November 2014 to attend the EAS/ASEAN Summits, and his meeting with President U Thein Sein at the time.

Modi said India attaches the highest priority to its relations with Myanmar, and conveyed India’s commitment to deepen the bilateral relationship in all areas, including in political, economic and security spheres and people to people contacts, said an official statement.

He reaffirmed India’s position as a reliable partner in Myanmar’s development and called for greater bilateral collaboration in agricultural technology, research, and energy sector.

Modi also highlighted the importance of Myanmar for peace and stability in the region, and for India’s connectivity with southeast Asia.

Wunna Maung Lwin briefed Modi on the progress in bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, health, and development projects.

Accepting the invitation extended by President U Thein Sein, Modi said that he looked forward to an early visit to Myanmar, said the statement.

This first JCC meeting will review progress on bilateral initiatives in various sectors, identify thrust areas and give directions for further growth of the bilateral partnership. The meeting would also provide a useful opportunity for exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The Myanmar minister is to visit the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi and also visit Jaipur with his delegation.

The Indian Army carried out strikes on the camps of northeast militants in early June along the border in retaliation for the 4 June ambush by militants on an Army convoy in which 18 soldiers were killed in Manipur.

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U.S.A: Myanmar’s Military Campaign Against Rohingya Muslims a ‘Mass Genocide’

Lawyers for the reporters said their clients were set up and have appealed their sentences and convictions.

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Rohingya
Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wade past a waterlogged path leading to the Jamtoli refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh. VOA

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution by a vote of 394-1 Thursday, declaring Myanmar’s military campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide.

A United Nations report released in August said the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes with “genocidal intent” and also definitively called for Myanmar officials to face genocide charges for the first time.

Rohingya Growing

Myanmar’s military has denied previous accusations it had committed genocide, maintaining its actions were part of an anti-terrorism campaign.

Rohingya, Violence
Rohingya refugees carry a hume pipe in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The atrocities have prompted the U.N. and a number of political and human rights leaders to question the southeast Asian country’s progress toward democracy.

The Burma Task Force, a coalition of U.S. and Canadian Muslim organizations, applauded the genocide designation.

“The House of Representatives has now officially adopted the position that the ongoing policies of mass violence and displacement against the Rohingya by the Myanmar government constitute genocide, bringing the U.S. closer to the emerging international consensus on the issue.

The U.S. State Department usually makes such official designations but has not used the term genocide to describe the military’s atrocities against the Rohingya.

Rohingya, myanmar, violence,asylum
Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The House resolution also called on the Myanmar government to release Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed one year ago.

Also Read: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Under Fire For Myanmar Tweets

They were sentenced in September to seven years in prison for violating the country’s colonial-era Secrets Act. Lawyers for the reporters said their clients were set up and have appealed their sentences and convictions.

The Myanmar embassy in Washington did not immediately comment on the House vote. (VOA)