- GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
- GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations.
Myanmar Political Instability
Context: The February 1 military coup in Myanmar (third such coup in Myanmar’s History) has led to countrywide civil disobedience movement against ruling military power. Military regained power because they feared that after the resounding electoral victory, Aung San Suu Kyi may move to curb the military’s powers.
Did You Know?
- The 2008 Constitution of Myanmar secures a special place to the military, in that 25% of the seats in parliament and local legislatures are reserved for them, as indeed key ministries like Home, Defence and Border Affairs.
- The Constitution also disqualifies persons with foreign spouses from becoming president.
Implications of the Coup for India
- Erodes Progress made in last decade: The quasi-democratic experiment that Myanmar had started a decade back has now been aborted. India was champion of Democracy in Myanmar and had provided guidance in its Democratic transition.
- Rise of China: The growing international isolation of Myanmar government led by the Army could once again push the country into dependence on China.
- Obstacles in Foreign Policy Agenda: Recent developments in Myanmar pose a serious policy challenge to India. Myanmar is an important element for the success of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’, ‘Act East’, and ‘Indo-Pacific’ policies
- Border & Regional Security: The political instability in the post-coup period is expected to divert the attention of the Myanmar Army from its periphery and its borders. This may create tensions at border areas in India (refugees, insurgents, illegal movements)
- Delayed Connectivity Projects: Peace in Chin and Rakhine states of Myanmar is essential for the completion of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Trilateral Highway project. The political instability slows down these connectivity projects further delaying the sub-regional integration
- Refugee Issue: The refugee influx from Myanmar to Manipur and Mizoram (due to common ethnic links and family ties) is a matter of concern for India due to Political instability in Myanmar
- India expressed its concerns that the democratic gains made by Myanmar over the previous decades should not be undermined.
- India reiterated its “support to the process of democratic transition” and assured that India’s developmental and humanitarian efforts in Myanmar aimed at the socio-economic development of the country will continue.
- India’s envoy to UN told to UNHRC that the rule of law and democratic processes in Myanmar must be upheld and the detained political leaders released
As a non-permanent member of the UNSC during 2021-2022, India can play an important role with other partners like Vietnam in building international opinion, given that Vietnam is also a UNSC non-permanent member this year. If a supportive international environment is built up through the UN and ASEAN, the military in Myanmar could be encouraged to return to the democratic road map.