“Glory of the sea, Ravana Basyo neighborhood” – This part of poet Rahim’s couplet is missing regarding the Government of India’s stand on the situation in Myanmar. If there was no city of Lanka on the seashore and Ravana, the king of Lanka, would not have built a bridge over the sea. The glory of the ocean called impermeable remains intact, no one can transcend it.
This is currently happening to India as being a neighbor of Myanmar. It is being reminded that India is the largest democracy in the world and it also has a history of actively supporting the fight for democracy in Myanmar.
So then .. Why has India maintained a deliberate silence since the coup this time, why not criticize Myanmar’s army and its generals in strong words so far? Why have relations been restored, why have I not boycotted Myanmar’s military rule so far?
Question on the glory of democracy?
For example, the foreign (American) journal The Diplomat, which has commented on international relations, termed India’s Myanmar policy as dangerous, writing that “on the policy of appeasement of the military power-establishment of India Myanmar (called Tatmadaw)” It is going on. This policy of India can provoke protests and perhaps even air anti-national forces in the northeastern states of India. “
India attended Myanmar’s Army Day parade in late March, sending its military attache in Myanmar to participate in the event. On this, the Times of India reminded three big things in its news.
One is that the army killed more than 100 pro-democracy protesters on the day of the Army Day parade in Myanmar. Secondly, the United Nations condemned the UN’s harsh words for the “widespread, systematic and deadly manner of attacking peaceful protests and violations of human rights” since its occupation of power since 1 February. Has
And, thirdly, the newspaper reminded that the military-day parade may be of historical importance (the army’s rebellion against the Japanese occupation of 1945) for the Myanmar army, which crushed its own people, raising their voice for the restoration of democracy, but The democratic countries did not give this annual prom this time.
India was the only democratic country out of the total eight countries (India, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand) participating in the event.
After recording these three things, the newspaper concluded that India’s participation in the Myanmar military-parade has come at a time when questions are being raised about the military coup and violence in Myanmar. .
So what should India do?
Against such criticism, the question arises what should India do? Should he change his neighborhood? There is no rental house in the country, if the neighbor gets upset, then the house should be changed!
In Myanmar, if the army is ruled or if the democratic polity is established there, India does not have the option to change its neighborhood, so instead of thinking about the events in Myanmar in the idiom of democracy vs. military-rule, we need to think about our questions. The panel will have to do something big.
The more practical question that arises regarding Myanmar is how did India deal with the “Full Democracy” category in The Economist’s Democracy Index, which the magazine went to the most in its Democracy Index of 2020 – that is, in the category of authoritarian state And where the military power establishment is never ready to loosen its grip on governance?
As a neighborhood, Myanmar is like a bridge to India. He connects South Asia with South-East Asia and thus is important for the success of India’s Look East Policy. So should India stop taking a step on the Look East policy and wait that when democracy prevails in Myanmar, the way forward will be taken on this policy?
A question is raised about the unity and integrity of India. Separatist elements have been active in the states of the Northeast for a time. Myanmar is a convenient refuge for extremists who dream of establishing an independent state by stepping away from India.
To curb or curb these extremists has been in the hands of the military rulers of Myanmar. So, should India forget about its internal security and unity and integrity and can be seen standing directly with the democratic forces, who are always stunned about whether the power will ever come into their hands or not?
Importance of Myanmar
Of course, since the coup in Myanmar, India’s response has been restrained. India has just expressly expressed “ deep concern ” over the developments in Myanmar and said that it is enough that the rule of law and democratic processes in Myanmar is restored and headed there for a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Try in unison.
A large section of pro-democracy and anti-military regimes in Myanmar are criticizing this stance of India and the international fraternity is also eyebrows that India is the only country which comes under the category of ‘Full Democracy’. – Sent his representative to attend the day celebrations.
But bypassing their strategic, economic and cultural interests, it is not possible for India to support Myanmar’s democracy-supporters as openly as before. Remember that the 1643-km-long borderline connects the two countries to each other.
About 2.5 lakh people of Indian origin live in Myanmar and the settlement in the border area is such that many times a family lives in Myanmar but they have to come to India to vote. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram are closely contiguous to Myanmar and many of the Naga and Mizo people have ties with the residents of Myanmar.
The strategically important Bay of Bengal also brings the two countries very close, the distance between the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the islands in Myanmar being just 30 kilometers. The port of Myanmar allows India to reach its northeastern states very quickly, which is very important given China’s intervention in the region.
After becoming a member of ASEAN (1997), an organization of Southeast Asian countries, India’s access to the Asia-Pacific region through Myanmar has been facilitated. And, there is one thing that Myanmar is a neighbor of China and thus India can reach the southern part of China with the help of Myanmar.
What does the history of relationships say
Idealism dominated India’s policy on Myanmar for a long time. With Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Ministers, democratic values were given more priority in respect of Myanmar, less security concerns.
This policy changed decisively during the rule of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. The idea of getting rid of the body from the idealism of walking distance from the military rulers of Myanmar was considered. In the months of February and August 1992, talks between the Foreign Ministry of the two countries were held.
This conversation laid the foundation for a future relationship between the two countries. Both countries agreed on three things. One is that Myanmar respects India’s favor with democratic values, but India will show patience and restraint in the sense that democracy is restored in Myanmar.
Secondly, there are shared security concerns between Myanmar and India and Myanmar will step into the partnership keeping in view the strategic and strategic interests of the two countries. And, the third point in this regard was mutual cooperation in economic and technological matters between the two countries.
During the NDA government led by the BJP in 1998, this consent took a strong form. Under the leadership of Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, India established a military-level cooperation-dialogue relationship with Myanmar in view of the ground realities.
Cooperation was expected from Myanmar in order to cope with the separatism of the North Eastern states. By July 1999, the then Home Minister of India LK Advani had said that the Myanmar army is helping India in destroying the camps that the Naga militants have built in Myanmar.
This growing relationship with Myanmar today extends beyond partnerships of strategic and strategic importance to cooperation in road, power, hydro-carbon, oil-refinery, transmission lines, telecom and IT projects and India in Myanmar Investment has increased.
During the time of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, keeping in mind the history of the beginning of new relations against the military rulers of Myanmar against the ground truths and needs of both countries, you will feel that India is doing exactly right in the present situation – India is showing the endurance and restraint. It is giving that the path to democratic restoration in Myanmar should come out from the talks between the leaders there.
Remember, advocating for democratic values means sympathizing with the supporters of democracy of a country, but empathy should not increase so much that by actively intervening in internal affairs within a country, it went on to build a puppet government of its own accord Go
(The author is a sociocultural scholar)
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