TODAY -

India-Burma Relations : Trends and Development 1990 - 2011
- Highlight of Report -

Burma Centre Delhi (BCD) *



Snr-Gen Than Shwe (R), Indian President Pratibha Singh Patil (2nd R), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and Than Shwe's wife Kyaing Kyaing (2nd L) pose during a ceremonial reception at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on July 27, 2010
Snr-Gen Than Shwe (R), Indian President Pratibha Singh Patil (2nd R), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and Than Shwe's wife Kyaing Kyaing (2nd L) pose during a ceremonial reception at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on July 27, 2010.



Sharing a 1,640 km border, India and Burma achieved independence from colonial rule only a year apart, India in 1947 and Burma in 1948. Therefore, India and Burma share a long political history and inter-personal contact in terms of culture, religion and trade.

Over the years India-Burma relations witnessed several turn of events. The relationships between the two countries went through rough times when the military took over the country under the leadership of General Ne Win in 1962. India pursued its idealistic policy even as Burma's military control was increasingly entrenched and absolute. In 1988, India supported the pro democracy movement in Burma led by students, providing shelter to those who fled the country during uprising in 8 August 1988.

When India adopted a Look East Policy in early 1990s in an attempt to engage itself with Southeast Asian countries to revive its economy and emphasize its influence in the region, Burma became prominent and significant for India as a land bridge for the success of the policy. Thereafter, India began to engage the ruling military government in Burma. It remained silent over issues pertaining to the military control and its aggression over common civilians, specifically the pro democracy activists in Burma.

Moreover the northeast region of India too became an important geo physique and political strategy in the implementation of this Look East Policy. Some of the Policies that are visible today are: India-Burma border trade, Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project; Sitway port and road links etc.

This initiative in terms of economic cooperation and joint ventures are said to revive the relation between the two countries. The issue of border insurgency was also taken up by the two countries in terms of joint combing operations; military exchange and resources.

In the current context the key areas of India-Burma relations are economic and military cooperation. The important factors in developing ties are geo - physique and strategic factors.

India's Look East Policy is an important foreign policy of India after the post cold war. It is primarily on trade and investment linkages, but later shift towards a wider economic, security, political and physical connectivity. The policy was further responded by the Burma government as an implementing partner of several mega projects initiated by India and conducting joint military collaborations.

The report concludes that the present forms of relations between India-Burma is measured only in terms of economic, military cooperation, while several resistance have also been witnessed in many areas such as mega projects like Tamanthi Dam, or Kaladan multi- modal project.

India as Burma's immediate neighbour and world's largest democracy and with its increasing influence in the region, it is felt that India needs to genuinely put efforts, both in terms of economic and political for a true transition in Burma, while it also feels that the ruling government in Burma to take further step, not only in the release of Aung San Suu Kyi but to take into confidence all political parties and ethnic groups in this important period of democratic transition in Burma.

The "India-Burma relations 1990 - 2011 Trends and Development" is a compilation of studies, papers and viewpoints of renowned experts who have profound knowledge, experience and concern on India-Burma relations. This report stress the relations between the two countries over the last two decades and was published to serve as an insight and understand the socio-political process in Burma and the trends that evolve between India and Burma. It is hoped that this information in its small way will contribute to the dawn of renewed and strengthen relations and bridge Indians as well as Burmese people towards development, peace and stability.

Contributors include Indian and Burmese Parliamentarians, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Mani Shanker Aiyer and Dr. Tint Swe;
Social activist Jaya Jaitley;
Intellectuals, Analyst and Researchers C.S Kuppuswamy , Dr K.Yhome, Prof Ganganath Jha, Prof Baladas Ghoshal;
Strategist and Security Analyst Rahul. K. Bhonsle, Anil Bhat;
Journalist Subir Bhaumik, Nava Thakuria and Satya Sagar.


* Burma Centre Delhi (BCD) sent this report to e-pao.net
The writer can be reached at office(at)burmacentredelhi(dot)org
This article was posted on March 09, 2012



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