[Answered] The Indo-Burma region, home to one of Asia’s longest-running conflict zones, is of immense geo-strategic importance for India. In the light of the statement, bring out the effects of turmoil in Myanmar in India? Also, suggest some steps that the government should take to uphold its interests.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some effects of turmoil in Myanmar in India.  Also, write some steps that the government should take to uphold its interests.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

India-Myanmar relations are rooted in shared historical, ethnic, cultural and religious ties. As the land of Lord Buddha, India is a country of pilgrimage for the people of Myanmar. India and Myanmar share a long land border of over 1600 km and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar is geopolitically significant to India as it stands at the center of the India-Southeast Asia geography.

Effects of turmoil in Myanmar in India:

  • India would face the influx of refugees, particularly the defectors from the borderlands who have close cultural, ethnic, and religious ties with their counterparts in India,
  • There may be spill-over effects on South Asia, and as an immediate neighbour, the region will face the ethical dilemma on how to manage relations with Myanmar.
  • India-Myanmar has porous borders at many places. It facilitates cross-border movement of militants, illegal arms and drugs, etc. It would be difficult to control the movement under the cover of refuge.
  • The military taking over Myanmar has affected the India’s Act East Policy.
  • Ever since the coup, China’s economic grip over Myanmar has become tighter with a special focus on projects critical for the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. This is of great concern for India.
  • Internally, central government facing friction with the Manipur state government. It is because Manipur state is much more concerned about the well-being of Myanmarese living on the borders due to their shared cultural identities.

Steps that the government should take:

  • India has to discourage the mass influx of refugees, check cross-border insurgency in the northeast, safeguard ongoing projects and investments and also counter China’s growing influence.
  • Currently, India’s Border trade with Myanmar is at a very low level. By formalising border trade like that of Border Haats in India-Bangladesh and providing enough support, people to people tie can be improved.
  • India can assist Myanmar in the implementation of the Kofi Annan Advisory Commission reporton Rohingya Refugee issues like investing in infrastructure projects.
  • India must invest in those entities that can not only provide a stable political environment overall, but also effectively secure its security interests along the border.
  • India should strengthenborder infrastructure by investing in UAVs, surveillance systems, and communication equipment.

The complexity of India’s regional security and neighbourhood demands that India adopt a more nuanced position on Myanmar.  India’s new “two-track” policy can help to attain its broader geostrategic goals- containing China and achieving regional supremacy.

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