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Myanmar Crisis 

  • IASbaba
  • November 9, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. 

Myanmar Crisis

Context: Recently, ASEAN excluded Myanmar’s military junta from its annual summit held on October 26-28.

  • It is a major setback for the Generals’ attempts to gain regional legitimacy for their regime.

What is happening in Myanmar?

  • Ever since it seized power by toppling the democratic government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February, the Military junta has unleashed a reign of terror claiming an estimated 1,000 lives.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi, who had been the State Councillor for five years from 2015 heading the quasi-democratic government, has been in detention since the coup.
  • She is facing various charges, including violating the country’s official secrets act, possessing illegal walkie-talkies and publishing information that may “cause fear or alarm”.
  • Months after the seizure of power, the Military junta, led by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, is still struggling to restore order

  •  If in the past the National League for Democracy (NLD), Ms. Suu Kyi’s party, had upheld non-violence even in the face of repression, this time, NLD leaders have called for a “revolution”.
  • In cities, protests slid into armed fighting between pro-democracy protesters and security personnel, while in the jungles, anti-junta groups joined hands with rebels for military training. 
  • The situation has become so grave that the UN Special Envoy warned this month that Myanmar had descended into a civil war.
  • Most recent reports suggest that the junta has been systematically torturing political prisoners.
  • Regime violence, political crises and strikes and counter-attacks by protesters have all pushed Myanmar to the brink of collapse.
  •  According to the UN, some three million people are in need of life-saving assistance because of “conflict, food insecurity, natural disasters and COVID-19”. 

What role is ASEAN playing in this crisis situation?

  • One of the regional groupings with some leverage over the Myanmar’s Military junta is ASEAN. 
  • In April, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing was invited to Jakarta for emergency talks with ASEAN members. The bloc asked him to immediately end violence and start the reconciliation process 
  • ASEAN requested Myanmar Military Junta to allow a regional special envoy to meet with all stakeholders, including Ms. Suu Kyi. 
  • A special envoy was appointed as part of the ASEAN plan, but he was not allowed to meet Ms. Suu Kyi.
  • Recent decision of ASEAN to not admit Myanmar Junta during its summit is a reminder that continuing violence could cause regional isolation of the regime, which could worsen the crisis. 

Conclusion

  • Violence might allow Myanmar Military to hold on to power for now, but that is not sustainable.
  • The international community should continue to put pressure on the junta and urgently start a reconciliation process.

Connecting the dots:

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