[Answered] Since the coup, India has taken an arguably balanced diplomatic approach on Myanmar, but now, India must reconsider its partnerships in Myanmar. In the light of the statement, critically analyse India’s policies on Myanmar since the coup.

Introduction: Give context of Coup in Myanmar.
Body: Explain pillars of India’s policy in Myanmar. Write the policy of India on Myanmar post the coup. Write the concerns related with present approach of India on Myanmar.
Conclusion: Give a way forward.

One year ago, the military in Myanmar attempted to grab power from the elected civilian government in a dramatic coup. Subsequently, it installed a “caretaker government”, while the commander-in-chief declared himself “Prime Minister”. 

India’s policy on Myanmar is guided by its importance to India’s Neighborhood first policy and Act east policy.

India’s approach towards Myanmar post the coup. 

  • India has taken a balanced diplomatic approach on Myanma India has called for restraint, restoration of democracy and release of political prisoners, but also maintaining its lines of communication with the military.
  • India has also firmly stayed away from imposing sanctions on the junta.
  • India has kept the diplomatic channel open with Myanmar, which is evident from Foreign Secretary’s recent visit to Myanmar.

The rationale behind India’s approach towards Myanmar.

  • Security in North East: North-eastern states in India are affected by insurgency and narcotics trade routes (golden triangle). Good relations with power centre in Myanmar would be effective in handling these issues.
  • Economic concerns: Myanmar acts as a bridge between India’s North East India and ASEAN. Myanmar also have natural resources like Oil and Gas that India needs for energy security. India also has interest in the development projects like Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Trilateral Highway.
  • Chinese Influence: India cannot afford to antagonize the military Junta because that will push the Junta towards China.
  • Refugee crisis: India wants to avoid a situation similar to Rohingya crisis where large number of people started migrating to Indian states.

In last one year several changes have taken place in the internal dynamics like mass protests bringing the country to a halt, a civil disobedience movement is ongoing and a full-fledged armed rebellion has erupted across Myanmar.

These developments in Myanmar require rethinking on India’s approach.

  • The Myanmar military has roped in Manipuri insurgents as mercenaries to attack anti-junta forces, in exchange for safe haven. Indian insurgent groups have reestablished their camps inside Myanmar, which could act as staging posts for attacks inside India.
  • Part of Myanmar bordering Mizoram and Manipur, has seen dramatic military offensives in civilian areas, which have forced thousands to flee into India. Creating a refugee crisis.
  • For India’s economic aspiration and developmental projects, a stable political environment is needed in Myanmar which the Military has not been able to provide.
  • India’s stand on Myanmar’s coup has been criticized by western world as ‘tacit support’ to Myanmar’s military regime by the world’s largest democracy.
  • India needs to take a pragmatic view of the developments in Myanmar. India must realise that the military is no longer a force for stability and future in Myanmar.

India must reconsider its partnerships in Myanmar and invest in those entities that can not only provide a stable political environment overall, but also effectively secure its security interests along the border.

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