Wooing The Generals – India’s New Burma Policy

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Relations between India and Burma (now Myanmar) date back to the 3rd century BC and Burma happened to be the largest province of British India. After a close partnership resulting from Nehru and U Nu’s friendship, the advent of a military rule in Burma in 1962 isolated the country by throwing a “bamboo curtain” on it. India has thus long ignored its eastern neighbour, choosing not to deal with another military regime. With the dramatic up-rising of 1988 and the renewal of the Burmese Junta, the idealist policy India defined towards Myanmar was not altered.
But with the launch of its Look East Policy, along with the geopolitical upheaval in Asia’s regional order in the 1990s, India’s Burma policy showed a radical U-turn. After years of political rejection and isolation of the Burmese Junta, India clearly opted for a realist policy and began to “court” the Burmese Generals. Since many crucial stakes are involved in the region (including the Chinese thrust in South-East Asia) India could not afford to alienate itself from the Burmese regime. Thus, New Delhi opted for a realist approach and decided to engage the Burmese Military in its own interest.


Press Reviews :
Seminar Magazine (2005), by M.S. Prabhakara
The Irrawaddy, Vol 12. No. 2 (February 01, 2004), by Satya Sivaraman

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