It was probably just the one move needed to make things work for Myanmar. Just the one move which would make it the hotspot destination for most countries, just that one move which would make everyone forget as to why there was no probable multilateral relations nor the strategic deals with the country and that one move made this year seems to be reaching the actual goal or rather may be more than that and that too in such a short span that the Myanmar govt ought to be proud of 2012.
2011 marked the change with the first elections and allowing democracy a starting point. Of course Suu Kyi was not allowed to participate but it still meant something when there was a voting and it sure was a step ahead. A year later Suu Kyi’s party was allowed to participate in the local elections and its sweeping away of the seats again meant something. It was the much needed message for the world saying that Myanmar has moved on from a military country to a democracy. The US has always been a staunch promoter of democracy in Myanmar and that too to such an extent that it had clearly pressurized India to support democracy and impose sanctions on Myanmar for not doing so. Now that the one move has been made, the entire world seems to have shifted its relationship dynamics from the west to the east and specifically Myanmar. To endorse this thought, the recent turn of events and the speed in which the turn has happened is quite phenomenal indeed.
- Japan has been the most optimistic with the waiver of its 3.1 billion USD loan to Myanmar. Also now it is in discussion with the most favoured nation status with Myanmar.
- US seems to be happy that Myanmar has taken a positive step toward democracy and they too are keen about the sanctions being taken off. US is looking forward to appoint an ambassador to Myanmar and there has already been an announcement made in this direction.
- China has been the intelligent partner which has always maintained a very strong relation both with its neighbours and the neighbours around India. We could recall the string of pearls theory here. China has been working on the pipelines, energy projects, developing the roadways and transport system in Myanmar.
- EU said it is going to suspend the sanctions that it had on Myanmar. However it did not say that it is going to lift all the sanctions, suspension from their point meant that they could be reinstated if something goes awry in Myanmar.
So where do we stand? We seem to be enjoying the competition around and of course Myanmar should be in a state to enjoy all the attention it is getting. India is definitely on a good relational status with Myanmar. Even when the military junta was in rule, India opened itself up to the east, thanks to the look east policy which saved the day for India. The look east policy aims to have a strong relation with the eastern countries and also as a mainframe to bring in development to the north east states of India. A transport way to Myanmar would definitely mean that the route has to be the North east states and that would naturally mean that there sure are going to be some infrastructure projects. And as we know development has its own spiralling effect. That would mean a definite uplift in the quality of life and opportunities in the much battered North East. The natural interest in the raw materials in Myanmar, natural gas and the pipelines, the on shore drilling are the most basic areas of interest. Also interesting to us is that Myanmar is basically an agriculture oriented country and hence a joint research and modernisation look out is a definite possibility. The one thing we would have as a challenge is ensure how we can maintain a strong relation with Myanmar when there is so much competition around. It sure seems to have a lot on the platter and for now the world seems to have shifted focus to the east.
And by east, I don’t mean India or China, it all seems to point to Myanmar now. All roads lead to Myanmar! And it is not just the phrase, the literal meaning holds good too considering the road, rail and transport projects Myanmar is receiving…