The Myanmar junta chief’s candid admission that his regime is not in full control of the country ravaged by a civil war offers an opportunity for India to step in to mitigate the crisis.
Last month, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reportedly said in a television interview that he did not expect to see such an uprising and nationwide civil disobedience against his rule triggered by the Feb. 1 military coup.
India’s ambiguous stand on the Myanmar coup has left many foreign policy analysts perplexed. Being the world’s largest democracy and a neighbor, it should stop procrastinating and initiate some smart diplomatic moves given that the military chief continues to maintain good relations with the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The general visited India in 2019 and the two countries signed a defense cooperation pact. They also discussed “joint exercises and training provided to Myanmar Defense Services, strengthening maritime security by joint surveillance and capacity building, medical co-operation, pollution response and developing new infrastructure,” according to a statement from India’s Defense Ministry.
In 2020, the Myanmar military handed over 22 Indian rebels operating from its soil. These militants were from India’s northeastern region, which shares a porous 1,643-km border with the Southeast Asian nation.
Taking their defense ties to a new level, India delivered a diesel-electric submarine, the INS Sindhuvir, to the Myanmar armed forces. The Soviet-era Kilo-class submarine was refurbished by state-run defense shipbuilder Hindustan Shipyard and renamed as UMS Minye Theinkhathu.
In addition, India’s state-owned Bharat Electronics has reportedly sent seven shipments of radar and related equipment to the Myanmar military since the Feb. 1 coup, Justice For Myanmar said, citing government data.