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Myanmar coup has implications for India

Myanmar coup has implications for India
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Myanmar coup has implications for India

Highlights

Mass protests being staged against the military junta that captured the power on February 1 in Myanmar are being attacked and suppressed by the military regime

Mass protests being staged against the military junta that captured the power on February 1 in Myanmar are being attacked and suppressed by the military regime. The military junta seized power following a general election in which Ms. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide. However, the armed forces had backed the opposition, who were demanding a rerun of the vote. But the election commission clearly said there was no evidence to support their claims.

Discarding and disregarding the election commission's finding, military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, who has immense political influence, captured the country's government and Ms. Suu Kyi was put under house arrest. Further, she has been charged with possessing illegally imported walkie-talkie. Many other NLD leaders have also been detained or put in jail.

It may be noted that Myanmar is a South East Asian country and it has a population of about 54 million. Its main religion is Buddhism. There are many ethnic groups including Rohingya Muslims. Its neighbours are China, India, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh. It is pertinent to note that China has blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning the coup.

This has raised many people's eyebrows and looked at China with suspicion. We have seen China meddling in Nepal's affairs recently and likewise, China's role in installing a dictatorial despot in Myanmar dancing to its tune cannot be ruled out. Many world leaders have condemned the military take over and the UN Secretary-General said it was a 'serious blow to democratic reforms.' US President Joe Biden has even threatened to reinstate sanctions.

Recalling the Saffron Revolution in 2007 when thousands of the country's monks rose up against the military regime, the protesters include teachers, lawyers, students, bank officers and government workers have taken to streets and voiced their anger against the military regime. Democratic leader Ms.Suu Kyi's party won a landslide majority in the general election, but she is in house arrest. Her international reputation already suffered as a result of Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya minority.

Thousands of Rohingya were killed and more than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh following an army crackdown in 2017. So, Myanmar is just like an active volcano and anything may happen there. Since Myanmar is strategically lying between the South China Sea and the Bengal Ocean, a democratic stable government should come there for the best interest of India. If the military regime is allowed to be ruled in Myanmar, then it will only help China.

It may be noted that the South China Sea is a beehive of military activities and warships are roaming to further check Chinese hegemonic control in the region. With the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and the world veering off the usual path of journey, a new world order is about to take shape. So, China wants to establish its domineering position with the help of Myanmar. Taking into consideration of this fact, India should be vigilant and at any rate, India should not accept the military regime in Myanmar.

— T K Nandanan, Kochi

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