Delegation from Myanmar’s Kachin state visits CTA amid speculations about purpose

April 22, 2018 1:26 am0 commentsViews: 101
President Dr Lobsang Sangay with the eleven-member delegation from Kachin, the northern most state of Myanmar at the Kashag Secretariat on 17 April 2018. (Photo courtesy/T Phende/DIIR)

President Dr Lobsang Sangay with the eleven-member delegation from Kachin, the northern most state of Myanmar at the Kashag Secretariat on 17 April 2018. (Photo courtesy/T Phende/DIIR)

(TibetanReview.net, Apr21, 2018) – A delegation from the embattled Kachin state of Myanmar belonging to the Kachin Joint Strategy Team (JST) has just visited the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) at Dharamshala, India, “an event that may raise a few eyebrows in China,” said mizzima.com Apr 20. This is because the JST often brings aid from China in its work of providing support for more than 100,000 Kachin people displaced by the ongoing decades-old internal conflict involving the Kachin Independence Army and theMyanmar military, the report said.

The delegation, led by Mr Gum Sha Aung, met with President Lobsang Sangay of the CTA on April 17 and, before that, with members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile led by Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel.

The 11-member JST delegation from Myanmar’s northernmost state included members from Bridging Rural Integrated Development and Grassroots Empowerment (BRIDGE), the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Kachin Relief and Development Committee, Kachin Women’s Association, Kachin Development Group, Karuna Mission Social Solidarity, Metta Development Foundation, Nyein (Shalom) Foundation and Wunpawng Ninghtoi, the report said.

The report said the visit had come at a time when the Burmese army, the Tatmadaw, had unleashed a fierce ground and air offensive against the rebels of the Kachin Independence Army.

The report speculated that India may have facilitated the Kachin delegation’s visit because it wanted to help the Kachins link up to the Dalai Lama and get his support to pressure the Burmese military to stop the offensive in Kachin state. However, the fact remains that the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, reviled by Beijing, has no known links with Myanmar or its army and his appeals to fellow-Nobel Peace laureate and Myanmar’s top political leader Dau Aug San Suu Kyi on the Rohingya issue have fallen on deaf ears.

The report also suggested that India permitted the delegation to visit possibly because it was upset with the Myanmar government for not expediting Rohingya repatriation which it saw as crucial for ensuring the victory of India’s friend in Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and stop the flow of the refugees into its own territory.

The report also cited analysts as saying New Delhi merely allowed the visit to happen to send a terse signal to Myanmar to play ball on accepting the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.

This was at least the second time a delegation from the Kachin state had visited the CTA in recent years. The previous delegation visit took place in May 2016. The 12-member delegation at that time was stated to include legal advisors, journalists, and human rights activists and a co-founder of the International Campaign for Tibet.

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