Should India Review Its Policy Towards Myanmar

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Source: The post should India review its policy towards Myanmar has been created, based on the article “Should India review its Myanmar policy in view of the humanitarian crisis?” published in “The Hindu” on 5th July 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2-international relations-India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Context: The article discusses the need for India to reassess its policy towards Myanmar due to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis there. It highlights the strategic and humanitarian reasons for India to engage with ethnic armed organizations in Myanmar to help stabilize the region and assist affected civilians.

For detailed information on India-Myanmar Relations read this article here

What is the Current Situation in Myanmar?

  1. Myanmar is experiencing serious conflicts between ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and the military junta.
  2. Ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and the People’s Defence Force are coordinating against Myanmar’s military junta, holding around 45% of the country’s territory.

Why Should India Review Its Policy Towards Myanmar?

  1. Refugee Crisis: The conflict in Myanmar is causing a refugee influx into India, directly impacting its northeastern states. This necessitates a policy review to manage humanitarian and security challenges.
  2. Geopolitical Shifts: China’s support for both the EAOs and Myanmar’s military junta presents a strategic challenge. China’s involvement in key trading routes on the Myanmar borders affects India’s interests, suggesting a need for a balanced and responsive foreign policy.
  3. Change in Myanmar’s Dynamics: The coordination among Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups holding significant territory indicates a shift in power dynamics. This new reality underlines the importance of India reassessing its approach to effectively address the changing political landscape and support regional stability.

What are the Challenges of Changing India’s Policy?

  1. Balancing Regional Interests: India needs to manage its relationship with Myanmar’s government while addressing the influence of China. Ensuring stability and maintaining a balance of power in the region is challenging.
  2. Direct Involvement Risks: Providing aid or intervening in non-government-controlled areas may be unwelcome by Myanmar’s official government. It may pose a diplomatic risk to India’s efforts to assist affected populations and stabilize the region.

How Can India Respond to the Humanitarian Crisis?

  1. Provide Humanitarian Assistance: India can offer aid in border areas, supplying essentials like water, sanitary napkins, and medical supplies. This can help those injured and needing surgery due to the conflict.
  2. Engage in Dialogue: India should discuss with Myanmar’s government the importance of humanitarian support. This can be framed as mutual interest to improve India’s humanitarian image and aid Myanmar’s people.
  3. Support for Stability: India can consult with regional neighbors like Thailand and Bangladesh, as well as experts, to ensure a coordinated effort towards stability and support for affected communities in Myanmar.

What Impact Could the Situation in Myanmar Have on the Region?

1.Regional Instability: The fragmentation in Myanmar could lead to broader regional instability, impacting neighboring countries like India, Thailand, and Bangladesh.

2.Creation of a Separate State: Discussions about forming a Christian or Kuki state within parts of Myanmar and Northeast India highlight potential geopolitical shifts that could affect regional integrity.

3.Increased Refuge Operations: As conflicts persist, the number of refugees fleeing Myanmar will likely increase, placing further strain on the resources and security of bordering nations.

Question for practice:

Discuss why India should review its policy towards Myanmar in light of the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis.

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