Yangon: Prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday justified demonetization which has come in for criticism, asserting that his government was not afraid of taking 'big' and 'tough' decisions in the interest of the country.
Addressing the Indian diaspora here in Myanmar, he said his government could take such decisions because it considers the country bigger than politics.
Along with demonetization announced on November 8 last year, he also named the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) last year and the GST which was rolled out on July 1 as the 'big' and 'tough' decisions taken by his three- year-old government.
Referring to the note ban, the prime minister said the step was taken to curb black money and that it had helped identify lakhs of people who had crores of rupees in bank accounts but never paid income tax.
He also said that registration of over two lakh companies had been canceled as those had been found to be indulging in laundering of black money.
The Congress has dubbed the note ban as a 'disaster' and said it had 'utterly failed' while the 'corrupt made windfall gains.'
Modi said on Wednesday that India shared Myanmar's concern about 'extremist violence' in its Rakhine state, where a security force operation against Muslim rebels has sent about 125,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.
Modi spoke after talks with Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a visit aimed at expanding commercial ties as part of an 'Act East' policy, and pushing back against Chinese influence.
Myanmar has come under international pressure after some 125,000 Rohingya Muslims fled from a surge of violence in Rakhine state.
Buddhist-majority Myanmar rejects accusations by refugees and rights groups that its armed forces have violated the rights of the mostly stateless Rohingya, saying the army and police are fighting 'terrorists.'
Suu Kyi told a joint news conference at the presidential palace in the capital, Naypyitaw, that Myanmar was grateful for India's stance on the attack on her country and they could work together to face the challenge.
Modi said India and Myanmar had similar security interests in the region.
"We share your concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state and specially the violence against security forces and how innocent lives have been affected," he said.
Modi's government has taken a strong stance on an influx into India of some 40,000 Rohingya from Myanmar over the years, vowing last month to deport them all.
That decision has drawn criticism from rights groups and prompted a petition in the Supreme Court to stop the government from doing so.
International concern, in particular from Muslim countries, is growing about the latest exodus of Rohingya.
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has pressed world leaders to do more to help the population of roughly 1.1 million, saying they are facing genocide.
U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday of the risk of ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization.
India is trying to boost economic ties with resource-rich Myanmar, with which it shares a 1,600-km (1,000-mile) border, to counter Chinese influence and step up links with a country it considers its gateway to Southeast Asia.
Two-way trade has grown to about $2.2 billion as India courts Myanmar following the gradual end of military rule, but Indian-funded projects have moved slowly.
India recently started exporting diesel to Myanmar via a land route, in a boost to Modi’s pledge to enhance hydrocarbon trade with neighbors.