Myanmar and Indian Defence Strategy?



Regarding the importance of Myanmar to India, the famous diplomat KM Panikkar said in the 1940s that the defense of Burma (old name of Myanmar) is India’s own defense. Burma’s subjugation will be a direct threat to India’s security. That point of Panikkar is as true today as it was in the 40s, although the name of the danger has now changed. India will have to keep a close watch on the internal activities of Myanmar and at the same time it will have to see that its own interests as well as the interests of Myanmar are not damaged.

Projects like Kaladan Multi-Model Project between India and Myanmar and the India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway have been in operation for years and have not been completed till date. Myanmar is part of India’s Act East policy and also the gateway of South East Asia for India. The early completion of projects like Kaladan will not only connect India with the Arakan province of Myanmar but perhaps it will also help in solving the problem of separatism there. These issues also came up in the talks between General Lai and Rajnath Singh but until this project is completed, major changes between India and Myanmar cannot be expected. As long as India does not pay attention to Myanmar like its other neighbors, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, then Myanmar will remain only a remote source of possibilities and special closeness between the two countries will remain like happy dreams.

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