ISLAMABAD : The recent developments at international arena have shifted the focus of the world towards Neo Realism where each country has started furthering their interests vigorously, clearly disregarding the moral and ethical viewpoints.
The leader in such discourse is India foreign policy have forced the other nations to have a relook at their diplomatic engagements. Indian stance towards Russian – Ukraine war and Military Coup in Myanmar clearly shows the dubious foreign policy where instead of explaining their actions, accusations are labeled on others for having similar approach.
In Myanmar, Indian Foreign Policy objectives are more than historical romance with Military Junta; they target Chinese growing influence as well as establishing hegemonic dominance over the Burmese nation.
The idea of converting Myanmar as a conduit to South East Nations, emerges out of Indian ambitious Look East and Neighborhood First Policy. This policy dictates strong relationship with Military of Myanmar where the strength of Burmese political economy lies. Therefore, irrespective of the government in Myanmar, India will always have closer ties with Tatmadaw.
The warm relationship between India and the current Myanmar regime started soon after the coup in February 2021. While the regime was being internationally condemned for its coup, India was careful not to make any direct reference to the military takeover or to condemn it in its statements. Since coup there have been multiple engagements between India and Myanmar Military rulers.
At the time when world was distancing themselves from Military Junta of Myanmar, India extended invitation to Commander-in-Chief (Navy) Admiral Moe Aung of Myanmar to attended the third edition of Goa Maritime Conclave 2021 (GMC2021) in Goa from 7 to 9 November.
The Goa Maritime Conclave is hosted by Indian Navy once two years. During the visit Commander-in-Chief (Navy) Admiral Moe Aung of Myanmar had separate one to one meetings with National Security Advisor, Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of the Naval Staff of India. Commander-in-Chief (Navy) Admiral Moe Aung discussed active cooperation between Indian Navy and Tatmadaw (Navy), maritime security and non-traditional security threats in Indian Ocean, Navy to Navy Staff Talks, Coordinated Patrol, Bilateral and Multilateral forums.
India sent the Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on a two-day visit to Myanmar, to workout future course of bilateral engagements. Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) highlighted that India and Myanmar share border therefore “peace and stability in Myanmar” is of importance to India. Shringla had meetings with Chairman of State Administrative Council Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and other senior officials. During his visit, Shringla handed over 1 million doses of “Made in India” vaccines to the Myanmar and also announced a grant of 10,000 tons of rice, at the time when other countries were imposing sanctions on military junta.
The Multilateral Naval Exercise (MILAN-2022) was held in Visakhapatnam, India from 25 February to 4 March. A total of 24 warships from 16 countries, including India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, the United States, Britain, South Korea, Japan, France and Seychelles, joined activity and seminar. Myanmar Navy was among the 13 countries that participated with their warships in Milan exercise hosted by the Indian Navy. A warship named Sinphyushin led by Commander Commodore Kyaw Kyaw Htoo from Tatmadaw (Navy) joined exercise.
A delegation from Myanmar Navy was invited for Fourth edition of biennial Goa Maritime Symposium conducted successfully by the Indian Navy at Goa from 31 October to 01 November 2022.Myanmar was among the 12 countries invited to participate the symposium, conducted by the Naval War College, Goa.
Indian council general at Sitwe has announced that work of Sitwe port is almost finished and it will soon start operations. Sitwe port is one of the components of India’s nearly US$400-million Kaladan Multi Model Transit Trade project in Rakhine State of Myanmar. Besides this India is contributing around $250 million to another road project to connect India’s landlocked northeastern states with Thailand via Myanmar. India taking advantage of Junta truce with Arakan Army wants to push on Kaladan project for its early completion.
Diplomatically, while other countries like Britain and Australia have a bumpy relationship with the Myanmar junta, as evidenced by a downgrading of their diplomatic presence, Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar presented his credentials to Min Aung Hlaing in April, which amounts to acceptance of Junta rule over Myanmar. Then, a few weeks later, the ambassador rushed to hold talks with regime-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) chairman Thein Soe to ask about electoral processes and discuss further cooperation with UEC on the upcoming election. Now, bilateral discussion have become a norm as evident from frequent visits of Indian Ambassador to Naypyidaw