More than 12 years after a Myanmarese activist hijacked an airliner to draw attention to the plight of his homeland - securing his exile in New Delhi and the ear of influential politicians - Indian prosecutors are bringing him to court over the incident. On November 10, 1990, Soe Myint and a fellow hijacker, Ye Htink Yaw, disguised a Buddha figure as a hand grenade and took control of the Bangkok-Yangon Thai Airways Flight 305, diverting it to the eastern Indian port city of Calcutta. After a nine-hour airport standoff, they released unharmed the 220 passengers and crew, and surrendered to police. 'I am proud of what I did 12 years ago,' said Soe Myint. 'We succeeded in focusing the world's attention on the suppression of democracy in Burma [Myanmar]. 'But I see no necessity for such a political act today. Burma is moving forward now; a process of reconciliation is under way.' Despite Soe Myint's optimism about a deal between the Myanmarese military junta and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, India has suddenly decided to bring the exiled activist to justice. His accomplice Htink Yaw has long since left India, but charges have now been framed against Soe Myint. His trial is due to begin in a Calcutta court on April 2. Soe Myint, 35, who became a journalist, believes pressure from the Myanmarese junta is behind the unexpected revival of the hijacking case. After the hijacking, Soe Myint settled in New Delhi, where he lived for several years at the home of Defence Minister George Fernandes, a strong supporter of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. In 1998, Soe Mying established Mizzima.com, an Internet news agency covering Myanmar, and married another journalist-in-exile, Thin Thin Aung. He has since established himself as a leading figure among Myanmarese exiles. Besides Mr Fernandes, he is known to several top Indian politicians and government leaders, including former president K. R. Narayanan, whose wife is from Myanmar. 'I am also in touch with Burmese diplomats here, and have even attended press conferences by the military ruler General Maung Aye and Foreign Minister Win Aung,' Soe Myint said. But neither his high-level contacts nor a plea to drop the hijacking case by the state government has dissuaded the national government from court action. Strategic and economic considerations, rather than any sudden desire for justice in a long-forgotten case, may lie behind the Indian government's move. After supporting the pro-democracy movement through most of the 1990s, India has made a concerted bid in recent years to end its estrangement with Myanmar. This effort has yielded dividends. The Myanmarese junta has extended help in the fight against separatist insurgent groups in India's remote north-eastern states. The rebels have bases in Myanmar. Improved ties could also help offset the growing Chinese presence in Myanmar, and allow India to push ahead with its plan for a highway link between the subcontinent and Southeast Asia. India also wants to tap the huge gas reserves in the coastal Arrakan province by building a pipeline. According to Soe Myint, Myanmar has given the Indian government a list of 31 Myanmerese exiles it wants deported - almost 1,500 are living in New Delhi alone. His name is on the list. How effective Soe Myint's influential supporters can be in the face of efforts to put him in jail remains an open question. Mr Fernandes has promised to help 'liberate' him from his present 'troubles'. 'But how far this support counts at the official level, we don't know,' the activist said.