Southeast Asia staggered on the first day of February after Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested along with other key officials of her governing party in a morning military raid calling the November 2020 elections “fraudulent. The internet links and communication networks were shut down and interrupted while the state broadcaster MRTV said it had technical difficulties and was out of the air. Now, all eyes are on Myanmar’s powerful military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, as he seizes power.
After the arrest of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of her ruling party, the National Democracy League, Myanmar’s military took control (NLD). The top military commander, declaring a one-year state of emergency on military TV, has grasped all authority under his influence and declared a one-year takeover of the country in times of national emergency. This comes a decade after the army decided in 2011 to hand power over to a transitional government.
Who is Aung Sang suu Kyi?
In 1948, Myanmar, also known as Burma, achieved independence from British colonial rule and was controlled by military regimes until 2011. It was the democratic reforms led by Aung San Suu Kyi that ended the country’s military rule. In the November 2020 election, the NLD won 83 percent of the available seats. Many saw it as a referendum on the civilian government of Suu Kyi. It was only the second of its kind since the end of military rule in 2011, but before threatening a coup, the military disrupted the results several times, and so it did.
She has been awarded noble peace prize in 1991,as she was once seen as a phare for human rights. She is the daughter of General Aung San, Myanmar’s independence hero. Her leadership has come to light in recent years, when the persecution of the country’s largely Muslim Rohingya minority by the military crackdown triggered by deadly attacks on police stations in Rakhine state was a major concern for the international community.
As a result, Aung San Suu Kyi was condemned and accused of doing little to avoid rape, assassination and possible genocide by refusing to condemn the military or accept the accounts of the atrocities. Nevertheless, she is also known as “the Lady” and is famous and admired among the majority of Buddhist countries.
The ramification of military coup
The coup sent a tremor of fear throughout the country, which had been under the domination of autocratic military regimes for almost 50 years before moving towards democratic rule in 2011. The early morning arrests of State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians reflected the days many wanted to be left behind. The coup came after a landslide win in Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy elections in November 2020. (NLD). State Counsellor Suu Kyi and her NLD party have been leading the nation for the past five years after being elected in the first elections held in the country in 2011, then again with the freest and fairest votes in 2015.
if the incident had not taken place on Monday morning, the party was to begin its second term in office. However, as developments started, Myanmar’s leader urged its supporters to “not accept this” and to “protest against the coup.” In a letter she says that the military moves are bringing the country back under dictatorship.
Though backstage, the army is almost squeezing Myanmar tightly. Thanks to the contentious 2008 constitution framed during the Junta Rule, the military in Myanmar has considerable sway over the nation. A law that not only guarantees a quarter of parliamentary seats for the military, but also controls the most important main ministries in the country, including home affairs, defense and border affairs. The military would still maintain some power over the population, government and the nation until the constitution remains the same.
As a member in the UN Security Council, India is interested in the Myanmar problem. India had expressed apprehension within a little while after the coup and said that the rule of law and the self-governing mechanism must be upheld and defended. Though India has spoken deeply about Myanmar’s recent development, cutting off from the Myanmar army is not a viable option because in Myanmar and its neighborhood, India has significant economic and strategic advantages.
In a state where the consequences of democracy have been scripted by military leadership, tensions are most likely to prevail. In such situations, the mark is constantly missed by internal powers and geopolitics in order to daunt its actions and to whim to govern. It is possible that when democracy in a country is threatened, India will feel concerned. But the nation must be true to its non-intervention policy in the internal matters of another state. Keeping in mind the country’s national interests, India must perceptively represent its ideals, values, interests and geopolitical realities.
China in the scene?
While India enunciated its concern for Myanmar, An enigmatic and hushed tone was sponsored by a communist party dominating autocratic China, another neighbor of Myanmar. It did not censure or show any concern.
Myanmar’s geopolitical tactical role provides a passage between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and for its political, diplomatic and strategic advantages, India needs a decent working bond with the Myanmar government regime. Specifically, this is due to the despicable projects in Myanmar by China, which wants to establish it as a geopolitical base against India. And so, despite the military junta’s administration of Myanmar over the eons, India has formed close relations and shares a strong bond with Tatmadaw. India handed over INS Sindhuvir, a submarine, to the Myanmar Merchant navy last year, notwithstanding its own frontal dearth. Tatmadaw reacted well to Indian methods and even enabled India to coordinate counter-interagency operations in Myanmar against Indian insurgent groups. But China has its own plans and ambitions to use Myanmar as one more base in its ‘String of Pearl’ tactics, which means encircling India by establishing military bases in its neighboring nation-states.
The first step of the strategy is to burden Myanmar with China’s debt trap. Of Myanmar’s overall direct foreign investment, China accounts for more than 25 percent. As the second largest investor in Myanmar after Singapore, China has invested $21.5 billion in Myanmar and accounts for one-third of all trade in Myanmar.
Under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), China is financing and constructing several projects in Myanmar that can be used as military bases in the future. These infrastructure projects have trapped Myanmar in a huge Chinese debt trap and account for more than 40% of the total national debt of $10 billion.
But China saw its own Myanmar designs backstage with the Myanmar. as government has recently halted and cancelled BRI projects which has created some big-ticket projects with India, such as the India Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Network and the proposed Special Economic Zone at the deep water port of Sittwe.
This strategically conceived capture of India’s neighboring countries presents a threat to the stability and defence of India. In order to secure and make progress in search of future interest, India must play adroitly with China.