Myanmar's new journey begins. Time for India to play a greater soft power role

For all these years that numbers like 50, Myanmar was governed by the military junta. Last november saw historic elections in 50 years where the National League for Democracy with its iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi won 80% of their contested seats, paving the way for the removal of military rule and return to democracy. But they could not contest all 100% of the seats because the military reserved for itself a quarter of all seats as per negotiations before, which resulted in the elections happening first place. The military also reserved its right over some key ministries needless of who will win the elections.

Now a time has come where the current president Thein Sein, who led a quasi-civilian government from 2011, will hand over power to Htin Kyaw - a close aide of Ms. Suu Kyi who will assume office on 1 April. This would mean NLD led by Suu Kyi will be effectively running the country and hopefully introduce more reforms that will end years of political persecution and oppression of the public.

Now is the time I think India can play a very positive role in building a strong relationship with Myanmar. Suu Kyi is no stranger to India as she has grown up, studied and lived in India when her mother was appointed ambassador to India. I think India should now play a very proactive role in building Myanmar as well as offering assistance in building a strong democracy. It will be in the best interest of us to have a strong, democratic and very friendly Myanmar to our north east.