While Western nations condemn the military coup in Myanmar, India is taking a cautious approach as it bolsters its connectivity to Southeast Asia and attempts to curb China’s influence.
Myanmar and India share a 1,600 km border, giving India a gateway to greater economic integration with Southeast Asia. As such, the country is crucial to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East policy.
The neighbors also share a 725 km boundary in the Bay of Bengal, where India aims to boost maritime security cooperation with Myanmar and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as part of a broader effort under the quadrilateral security dialogue. The U.S., Japan and Australia are also involved in what is better known as the Quad, which is designed to contain Chinese influence.
“India is looking at [the situation in Myanmar] from the perspective of its own geopolitical standpoint,” said Udai Bhanu Singh, senior research associate and coordinator of the Southeast Asia and Oceania Center at the New Delhi-based Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Singh pointed to a number of Indian infrastructure projects in Myanmar, particularly the Kaladan multimodal transit-transport facility between the two nations, and a highway that will stretch into Thailand.