Recent Development In Myanmar, And India’s National Interests; China’s New Coast Guard Law

Recent development in Myanmar, And India’s National Interests

India’s national interests, under the new circumstances, would clearly lie in dealing with whoever is in power in Myanmar.

  • India will find it difficult to openly support the junta, especially because the pro-democracy sentiments in Europe and America.
  • However, India can’t afford to offend the junta by actively seeking a restoration of democracy.
  • Being a close neighbour with clear strategic interests in Myanmar, offending the junta would be counter-productive.
  • Myanmar getting closer to China is a real worry for India.
  • Myanmar’s military played a helpful role in helping India contain the north-eastern insurgencies by allowing Indian military to pursue insurgents across the border into Myanmar.
  • Coordinated action and intelligence sharing between the two forces have in the recent past been instrumental in beating back the insurgent groups in the northeast.

Source: The long and the short of India’s Naypyitaw dilemma/The Hindu/February 6

China’s New Coast Guard Law

China passed a new law on February 1, 2021 sanctioning the country’s coast guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organisations or individuals at sea.” Using hand-held, ship-mounted, or airborne weapons, the law empowers the coast guard to demolish structures built by other countries on islands claimed by China and even to create “exclusion zones”, as required.

The new law is in many ways a culmination of the overreach that has been granted to and practiced by the coast guard in recent years.

Reactions to the law have been sharp with Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, and the US expressing concerns.

Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest describing the law as “threat of war”. The law adds to the various tools already being utilised by China for maritime intimidation.

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