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India's Policy Towards Myanmar UPSC NOTE


Recent developments and ongoing issues in Myanmar

  • The acting President of Myanmar, announced the fourth extension of the ‘emergency’ for another six months, which is in violation of the 2008 Constitution.

  • The extension of the emergency further delays the elections proposed by the military. 

  • ACLED, or the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (a disaggregated data collection, analysis, and crisis mapping project) reporting that Myanmar civilians witness two and a half times more violence than those in Afghanistan.

  • The Tatmadaw (the military of Myanmar) exerts real control in only 30%-40% of the territory, as in admissions from the Burmese military and a report of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M). 

  • A factitious national election would lead to the loss of further credibility if it is conducted only in a third of the country.

  • Moreover, the reshuffling within the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) under Khin Yi, is aimed at adding more military hard-liners, further raising concerns about the junta’s commitment to democracy. 

  • The decision by the National League for Democracy decision not to participate in the new elections, combined with the exclusion of smaller parties through the new party registration laws, leaves no viable opposition to the USDP in a parliament whose constitutional structure gives the military a practical veto.

  • The junta’s decision to reduce Ms. Suu Kyi’s sentence and shift her from the prison is a move that has perplexed a few. Yet, it is not a step towards democracy. 

  • Despite being the Tatmadaw’s biggest rival, Ms. Suu Kyi has demonstrated a willingness to compromise and work with the military. 

  • She remains the rallying point for political change in Myanmar despite international criticism over her position/stand and role in the Rohingya persecution. 

  • Some protest may ease with these symbolic gestures. 

  • But more importantly, Ms. Suu Kyi’s return could potentially split the National Unity Government (NUG)-led resistance. 

  • A young generation of activists is leading the NUG and its cooperation with ethnic armed organisations and even reconciliation with Rohingyas. This could all change if Ms. Suu Kyi is back in active politics.

  • These symbolic gestures by the junta, as said, may ease some protests and allow the military to claim progress over international and regional appeals, possibly leading to a lifting of sanctions and revived economic prospects. 

  • Additionally, they offer political bandwidth and a face-saving token to actors engaging with the junta, such as India.

India's Policy Towards Myanmar

  • India aided Myanmar during COVID-19 and the coup, but the focus has waned amid Manipur violence allegations and border community support for refugees.

  • India’s commitment to democracy contrasts with security concerns in north-east India and rivalry with China. 

  • Projects like the Sairang-Hmawngbuchhuah railway counter China’s influence.

  • Reports by Justice for Myanmar, SAC-M, and UN Special Rapporteur indicate increased arms supply by India to Tatmadaw, conflicting with the democracy restoration stance and fueling border tensions.

Future Course of Action for India

  • Engage with Pro-Democracy Actors: India can use Suu Kyi’s reduced sentence to engage with her and pro-democracy actors, fostering diplomatic ties with the National Unity Government.

  • Adopt a compassionate approach towards incoming refugees, avoiding blanket securitisation and profiling, and recognising kinship ties.

  • India should reconcile its security concerns with its commitment to democracy, considering its role in regional stability and China’s influence.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India's Policy Towards Myanmar UPSC NOTE
India's Policy Towards Myanmar UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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