FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Shifting ties
Posted:Sep 11, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar marked 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Over the last 25 years, New Delhi has shifted uncomfortably in a bid to square a complicated relationship. On the side of high principle and Aung San Suu Kyi to begin with, New Delhi next wooed the Myanmar junta which had imprisoned her for nearly two decades.
 
 
After Suu Kyi was released and Myanmar transitioned to democracy, India had to make another shift. While Suu Kyi is now the super-president and de facto foreign minister in her role as State Counsellor, the Myanmar army continues to play a huge overt role in domestic and foreign policy, but the generals are more comfortable doing business with China. That influence is visible in mega Chinese investments such as an already operational oil and gas pipeline from Myanmar to China, port projects, Myanmar-China railway projects, mining, hydropower projects among others.
 
 
Indian reflexes have been much slower despite the big talk about Look East. The Kaladan multi-modal project to connect Northeastern states to the rest of India via Myanmar is still to be completed, contracts for the remaining work on an ambitious trilateral highway connecting Moreh in Manipur to Thailand through Myanmar are yet to be awarded, and despite the passage of five years, the offtake of the $500 credit line for development projects given in 2012 is sluggish.
 
 
But cultural diplomacy has become an important arm of India’s outreach in the neighbourhood. During PM Modi’s visit, perhaps the most significant agreement was India’s offer to assist in the restoration and conservation of 92 ancient pagodas and structures in the ancient city of Bagan through the Archaeological Suvey of India. The two countries have finalised an MoU on this. India also announced free visas to Myanmar citizens.
 
 
With the political and military establishment in Myanmar more or less on the same page on the Rohingya question, PM Modi’s reiteration of the Rohingya as primarily a security issue rather than a human rights issue of a stateless and persecuted minority, must have been a welcome respite to both sides of the Myanmarese leadership, beleaguered as they are by the blunt international criticism on this front.
 
 
Modi condemned the “terrorist” incidents in the Rakhine, and voiced praise for military operations there, becoming the first country to do so, even though it is this that sends the Rohingya fleeing across the border to Bangladesh and to India. The joint statement notes that the problem in Rakhine is also one of lack of economic development, and India has promised assistance. It is no surprise that the main problem in the Rakhine, the deprivation of citizenship to the Rohingya, found no mention in the statement.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
Afghanistan's leaders have asked the Security Council to mobilise international pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists, United States Permanent Representative said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters here after the Council's weekend visit to Afghanistan and meetings with the nation's leaders, Haley said, &l
 
read-more
As the Myanmar government’s violent policy towards its Rohingya Muslims drew increasing international condemnation in 2016, the country’s sometime icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to speak out for the persecuted minority.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book in written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.

 
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599