Myanmar is geographically situated at the tri-junction of East, South and South East Asia, with its northern boundary lines touching Bangladesh, China and the sensitive eastern frontiers of India. It is the 2nd largest neighbor of India, the largest on the eastern boundary lines.
An of import state on the rim of the Bay of Bengal, Myanmar is dispersed across India ‘s south-eastern trade paths. While India and Myanmar portion a land boundary line of 1640 kilometers and a nautical boundary in the Bay of Bengal, the latter has a drawn-out boundary line with China in the North which is in close propinquity with the Sino-Indian disputed boundary line. This geographical intimacy of China causes the Indo-Burmese dealingss to be placed on a base of strategic importance. Intelligibly, a hostile Myanmar playing host to foreign navy airss a menace to Indian security.
Childhood Friends Subsequently Estranged
Following its independency from Great Britain in 1948, Myanmar played a major function in the emerging Asiatic solidarity. Having been a steadfast protagonist of Burmese independency allowed India to further strong diplomatic dealingss with Myanmar at an early phase. Additionally, Myanmar, holding been a state of India, had a ample Indian community that provided substance to the relationship. Both the states enjoyed cultural links, booming trade and commercialism and common involvements in regional personal businesss. Consequently, Myanmar was provided with critical Indian support in its battle against regional insurgences.
The souring of India ‘s dealingss with Myanmar was precipitated in 1962 by the overthrow of Democracy and the constitution of military control in Myanmar. The subsequent period of intense xenophobia and insulation pushed Myanmar into close isolation. India, repeating the prevailing sentiments of the universe, condemned the suppression of democracy which led to them break uping ties with India. The military authorities went to the extent to order the ejection of the Indian community situated in Myanmar. Thus, while Myanmar progressively isolated itself from the remainder of the universe including India, merely China continued to retain its close links with Myanmar.
In 1988, Indo-Burmese dealingss took a bend for the worse with the military government ‘s repression of the pro-democracy agitations. India, much to the displeasure of Myanmar, had opened its doors to the refugees who had fled the barbarous military crackdown, and saw a big graduated table inflow of Burmese refugees.
Idealism to Realism: Factors Causing the Shift
There was a conspicuous displacement in India ‘s stance towards Myanmar, one that was attributed to the development of Indian foreign policy from Nehruvian idealism to pragmatism. In the context of Indo-Burmese dealingss, it is believed that the dreamer stage lasted for about three decennaries following 1962, during which India had really small to make with Myanmar which existed under a self-imposed isolationism. Subsequently in 1988, India was forced to reconsider its dealingss with its neighbor following the rebellion and the inflow of refugees into north-east Indian cantonments. However, the dreamer stage lingered on between 1988 and 1992 as the Indian policy vacillated between following a pro-democracy base and go oning with diplomatic isolation.
The twelvemonth 1993 witnessed a new morning in the history of Indo-Burmese dealingss with the Indian Government taking a clear base and doing efforts to get the better of the bad blood brewing between the two states. India had shifted from an dreamer or moralistic foreign policy to a realistic or matter-of-fact one, and the “ Look East ” Policy was the chief drive force behind this displacement. Indeed, it was the new Look East Policy that led to the realization that insulating and disregarding a strategic neighbor such as Myanmar was non an option and that there was a demand to set up close links with Myanmar. Myanmar was to be productively utilized as a natural land span associating South and Southeast Asia with India.
In add-on to the Look East Policy, this effort was motivated by the lifting consciousness in India of a demand to counter the turning influence of China. In the old ages of India ‘s diplomatic disregard towards Myanmar, China had successfully filled the diplomatic vacuity by hammering and beef uping its ties with the military government of Myanmar. China ‘s extended military cooperation, part in developing Burmese substructure, intelligence installations and industries, providing of military hardware and modernizing naval bases allowed China to from strong dealingss with the state. China had besides developed a strategically of import Burmese haven and naval base located near to Kolkata. India, hence, felt an pressing demand to guarantee its national security by furthering congenial dealingss with Myanmar.
It is believed, nevertheless, that the decisive displacement towards pragmatism occurred post-1998 when India began to see Myanmar as a land and sea span towards the Asiatic part. Therefore, a Reconstruction of India ‘s foreign policy aimed at greater battle with Myanmar involved a determination by India non to interfere in the internal personal businesss of the state, alternatively to prosecute its military government in attempts towards economic cooperation.
The Burmese Government, under economic and political countenances imposed by the United States and the European Union, did non entertain hopes of obtaining any assistance from those quarters. Further, although Myanmar had been admitted into ASEAN, its chances of having any major economic aid were black. China had undertaken some important substructure development undertakings in Myanmar ; nevertheless, to singlehandedly fulfill Myanmar ‘s foreign assistance and investing demands was beyond China ‘s capablenesss. Therefore, it was believed a assisting manus offered by India would be welcomed by the Burmese Government.
Similarly, India ‘s policy of increased battle was based on the logical thinking that it was better to prosecute Myanmar than to banish it. Myanmar being India ‘s gateway to ASEAN, India was determined to prosecute the part.
International Loss of Face
India ‘s determination to cover with Myanmar ‘s military government did non get away international unfavorable judgment. In what had drawn overpowering international disapprobation, India treaded carefully in set uping its base on the anti-government protests that Myanmar witnessed in 2007. The Indian Government declared that it had no purpose of interfering in Myanmar ‘s internal personal businesss and that the Burmese people would hold to accomplish democracy themselves. Such a response had drawn flack catchers from all quarters and was perceived as holding weakened India ‘s certificates as a taking democratic state. Therefore, while India ‘s relationship with Myanmar was burgeoning, the remainder of the universe felt that it was India ‘s economic and military support to Myanmar that made the military government ‘s endurance possible, particularly in the face of international countenances.
Although China had been conspicuously soundless on the issue, the international community appeared to be pardoning China on the justification that China itself being a “ absolutism ” would needfully back up another. India was non as lucky and its soft attack was attacked as being an effort to tap on the trade potency with and influence over the energy-rich Myanmar. It was besides felt, and right so, that like China, India was keen on working Myanmar ‘s immense oil and gas resources.
Decision and Future Course of Action
Although India ‘s involvements in the long tally would be better served with democracy in Myanmar, under the present fortunes, the strategic and security considerations outweigh India ‘s concern for democracy in Myanmar. Despite India ‘s bettering dealingss with China, the Chinese fastness over Myanmar is of important concern. Similarly, it is in Myanmar ‘s involvements to hold an alternate beginning in India for its economic improvement.
India should non change by reversal its policy of making concern with the military government in Myanmar as such a tieback would amount to reiterating a blooper and would let China to acquire farther in front. Already India is unable to fit what China can offer to Myanmar – in footings of military equipment supplies and the usage of the veto in Myanmar ‘s favor at the Security Council.
Western unfavorable judgments of India ‘s Myanmar policy appear to be unjust as it is India that portions boundary lines with Myanmar, while the states enforcing countenances against Myanmar do non. Furthermore, their present and possible economic investing in Myanmar can non compare to India ‘s. India must non yield to international force per unit area, and go on constructing ties with Myanmar. After all, if India were to make concern merely with democracies, it would be really hard for it to happen suited spouses in its vicinity.