Myanmar President Thein Sein signs on documents during the signing ceremony of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement at Myanmar International Convention Center. (PTI Photo)
The Myanmar government today signed a peace accord with eight of the 15 ethnic armed groups, a ceremony which was attended by India along with other five "international witnesses".
Apart from India, which was represented by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, other international representation was from China, Japan, Thailand, the United Nations and the European Union, official Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup said.
"As a friendly geographical, historical and cultural neighbour of Myanmar, we were glad to make a small contribution to the best prospects of peace in Myanmar. The eight groups among the ethnic minorities signed this peace accord today belonging to the Kayin and the Chin groups.
"The agreement remains open for the signature from the other groups with which the government of Myanmar has been in negotiations with. The signing ceremony was attended by very few... as international witnesses," he said.
The ceasefire pact with eight ethnic minority armies is seen as a step towards ending decades of civil war though the move has weakened by the refusal of several other rebel groups to join the agreement.
According to reports, the truce is the fruit of more than two years of negotiations and was a key goal of reformist President Thein Sein ahead of November elections, which are likely to sweep his army-backed party from power.
In a lavish televised signing ceremony in the capital Nay pyi Taw, Thein Sein said the deal would give "an inheritance of peace" to future generations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's special envoy for northeast RN Ravi and former Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga were also present on the occasion.
Zoramthanga, a former rebel leader, was involved in the peace deal and had travelled earlier to Myanmar and Thailand where he held talks with both Myanmarese rebel groups and the government as a go-between.