Foreign Policy Watch: India-Myanmar

Fate of Indian Projects in Myanmar

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kaladan Project

Mains level : Read the attached story

myanmar

Introduction

  • The Arakan Army captured Paletwa in the Chin State, near Bangladesh and India. This has cast aspersions about the development of key Indian projects in Myanmar.

Myanmar Coup: A quick recap

  • Myanmar’s military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government in February 2021.
  • The military expected resistance to subside quickly. After three years, opposition to the military regime is growing.

Conflict Dynamics near Indian Borders

  • Complex Dynamics: The capture of Paletwa has triggered a complex dynamic between the Chin and Arakan ethnic groups.
  • Ethnic Majority: Majority of Paletwa’s residents belong to the Chin ethnic community.
  • Historical Claims: Some in the Rakhine State argue that Paletwa historically belonged to the Arakan Hill Tracts during colonial rule.
  • InterEthnic Solidarity: Inter-ethnic solidarity among EAOs is essential for an effective fight against the military.
  • Challenge of Compromise: Finding an inter-ethnic compromise on settlements like Paletwa is challenging due to its strategic location.

Impact on India’s Kaladan Project:

  • Significance for Kaladan: The developments in Paletwa have implications for India’s Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) in Myanmar.
  • Addressing Challenges: The Kaladan project aims to address northeast India’s geo-economic and geo-political challenges.
  • Project Delays: Delays in project implementation were caused by rugged terrain, inadequate coordination, political instability, and security challenges.
  • Local Attitudes: Attitudes of local ethnic organizations must be considered for swift Kaladan project execution.
  • Local Interest: People in Mizoram and Chin State are interested in the project’s completion as it boosts economic activity.

China Factor in the Region

  • Three Brotherhood Alliance: The Arakan Army is part of the Three Brotherhood alliance, believed to have Chinese support. This alliance aims to safeguard Chinese investments in Myanmar.
  • Reports of Chinese Support: Reports suggest that the Arakan Army receives funding and military equipment from China.
  • Concerns for India: Concerns exist in India about Beijing using armed groups to hinder India’s connectivity projects in Myanmar.
  • China’s Economic Presence: China has increased its economic presence along Myanmar’s Bay of Bengal coast.
  • Infrastructure Initiatives: Operationalized pipelines and agreements for a deep-sea port and special economic zone are part of China’s initiatives in Myanmar.

Conclusion

  • India, as a liberal democracy, faces scrutiny regarding the impact of its external engagement on sectarian/identity-based violence in the neighborhood.
  • Scaling up humanitarian and development assistance while collaborating with ethnic organizations is essential.

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