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India-Myanmar Relation

India- Myanmar Relation- Relevance for UPSC Exam

General Studies II- India and its neighborhood- relations.

In News

August 1 marked 18 months of the military coup in Myanmar

  • ‘Coup’is generally described as a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.

India-Myanmar Relation_40.1

Historical Background

  • In February, 2021, military seized control of Myanmar in a coupand detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD).
  • This was the third time in the nation’s historysince its independence from British rule in 1948 that military has taken over the control.
  • According to the 2008 military-drafted constitution, the military holds 25% of the total seats in Myanmar’s parliament.
  • After securing majority in November 2020 parliamentary election, Suu Kyi’s party National League for Democracy (NLD)was about to hold the first session of the parliament when the military imposed a state of emergency for one-year illegal voting in the parliamentary elections.

Significance for India

  • Being at the center of the India-Southeast Asiageography, Myanmar is geopolitically significant for India and also plays an important role in India’s “Neighborhood First” policy and its “Act East” policy.
  • As part of India’sSAGAR Vision, India developed the Sittwe port in Myanmar’s Rakhine state which is seems to be India’s answer to the Chinese-fronted Kyaukpyu port, which is intended to cement China’s geostrategic footprint in Rakhine.

Interest-Gateway to the East

  • India considers Myanmar as Gateway to the east and ASEAN countries.
  • India committed itself to Operationalisation of the crucial Sittweport in Myanmar’s Rakhine.
  • India assists infrastructure projects such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highwayand the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project.
  • Linkage of Kolkata to Sittwein Myanmar and then from Myanmar’s Kaladan river to India’s north-east is on cards as well.
  • According to the Land Border Crossing Agreement in 2018 signed between the two countries, the bona fide travellers with valid documents are allowed to cross the border at two international points of entry/exit- Moreh-Tamu and Zokhawthar-Rih.
  • Security: Indian seeks support and coordination from Myanmar for the maintenance of security and stability along its North East border areas which has seen a rise in the activities of some militant groups like the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) from the North-East region which have taken shelter in Myanmar.
  • With Indian investments of over USD 1.2 billion, Myanmar holds considerable importance than any other country in South Asia.
  • The two countries are also expanding partnership in the area of energy cooperation which can be seen from India approval for an investment of over USD 120 million in the Shwe Oil and Gas project.

Challenges for India

  • China’s Influence on Northeast Insurgency has increased and China’s grip over Myanmar has become stronger with a special focus on projects that are in the interest of China.
  • China is trying create trouble in the Northeast as can be seen from the deadly attack on an Assam Rifles convoy near the Myanmar border.
    • Rohingya Issue: Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar has increased plight of the hapless Rohingya which is not in India’s national security interest in the north-east.
    • The 1643-km-long Indo-Myanmar border, facilitating the cross-border movement of militants, illegal arms and drugs, is extremely open.
    • The border runs along hilly and inhospitable terrain and provides cover to the activities of various Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs).

What can be done?

  • India should continue to work closely with the present regime in Myanmar towards mutual development of people of both the countries.
  • India should help Myanmar towards achieving the goals in constitutionalism and federalism so that the prevailing stalemate can be resolved.

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