The long-lingering power struggle in Myanmar has finally ended. The Myanmar junta or Myanmar’s military has toppled the democratically elected government in a Coup D’etat. This has smashed decade-long hopes for a truly democratic Myanmar. As the future of Myanmar’s democracy is now uncertain and given its strategic importance, this Coup D’etat will have geopolitical implications for the region and India.
Strategic Importance of Myanmar for India
India and Myanmar relationship officially got underway after the Treaty of Friendship was signed in 1951, after which the foundation for a more meaningful relationship was established during Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1987.
India and Myanmar have traditionally had much in common, with cultural, historical, ethnic, and religious ties, in addition to sharing a long geographical land border and maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
Geo-Strategic Location of Myanmar
Myanmar is geopolitically significant to India as it stands at the center of the India-Southeast Asia geography.
Confluence of Two Foreign policy Doctrines
Myanmar is the only country that sits at the intersection of India’s “Neighborhood First” policy and its “Act East” policy. Myanmar is an essential element in India’s practice of regional diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific and serves as a land bridge to connect South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Competition With China
If India is to become an assertive regional player in Asia, it has to work toward developing policies that would improve and strengthen its relationship with neighboring countries.
However, in pursuance of this, China is a big roadblock, as it aims to diminish India’s influence in its neighborhood. Therefore, both India and China are fighting for gaining influence in Myanmar.
Critical For India’s National Security Interests
North-eastern states in India are affected by left-wing extremism and narcotics trade routes (golden triangle). To counter these threats, the Indian and Myanmar armies have carried out many joint military operations like Operation Sunshine.