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REGIMEnted Thoughts & Action

It is known, and has often been seen as well that History tends to repeats itself… and it, this time, has been seen so in Myanmar. The Armed Forces of the South-East Asian Nation had refused to accept the landslide victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) Party in the 1990 General Election. The Army had seized Power through a coup, and the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate had to stay behind bars for the next two decades. After she ruled the country successfully for five years, the people of Myanmar handed over the Power to Suu Kyi’s party for the second time in November 2020. The outcome of the recent polls upset the Army, as its representative Union Solidarity and Democratic Party performed worse than 2015. The newly-elected Parliament was scheduled to convene on February 1. However, the Army detained Suu Kyi, other leaders of her party, and even President Win Myint on that day!

After the coup, the Army declared a State of Emergency for next 12 months, making it clear that Myanmar was still not ready to accept Democracy. Experts feel that the one-year period is just a promise, as the Myanmarese Army is making preparations for strengthening the base of an Undemocratic Society.

Suu Kyi

The Armed Forces of Myanmar are popularly known to be notorious, and there lies little possibility that they would be compelled to act otherwise due to the Global condemnation. The former Military Regime in Naypyitaw had repeatedly ignored international pressure. Later, the Army softened its stand only after isolation from the outside world triggered a crisis of the State’s existence. However, the reestablishment of Global contacts failed to ensure a steady economic growth. The Military Ruler had made an attempt to maintain cordial ties with other countries only to restore the image of Myanmar at the international stage. Perhaps, the alarmed Army Generals have thought that Suu Kyi could change the Constitution this time, following her Party’s remarkable electoral victory…

It may be noted that the new Constitution was prepared and enforced in 2008 under the supervision of the Army, and the Constitution allowed the Army to enjoy undisputed Power. In case the Democratically-elected Government gets the opportunity to rewrite the Constitution now, then the Power and Authority – welded by the Army – would have been limited to the right place… in the barracks. The only hope is that establishing Military Rule is no longer easy in the second decade of the 21st Century as it used to be in past. The world has changed. Although the Global Community was not at all happy with Suu Kyi’s controversial role in the Rohingya Crisis, it has not hesitated to condemn the recent coup.

Protests against the Army in Myanmar

India, too, has expressed serious concern over the current political development in neighbouring Myanmar. Issuing a statement after the coup, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that New Delhi was in favour of the peaceful transfer of democratic power. Interestingly, India is one of those rare countries, which did not snap diplomatic ties with Myanmar even during the Military Regime. During Suu Kyi’s rule, relations between the two countries were seemingly good, despite the difference in points of views on the Rohingya issue. In fact, New Delhi has deepened its relations with Naypyitaw across Political, Military, Security, Diplomatic and Economic tracks. India, which is well aware of the fact that China has come closer to Myanmar in recent times, is in no position to allow the Asian Giant to cement its ties with Myanmar with the help of the Military Regime in Naypyitaw. The only hope is that the Tatmadaw, the official name of the Armed Forces of Myanmar, is now less enamoured of China, and keen to deepen relations with India, as well.

Suu Kyi with Indian PM Narendra Modi

India will say what it can and do what it must, apart from expecting public support for Democracy and private engagement with the Military Regime. After all, Democracy is valuable, and it is a Right in every sense. Camaraderie can turn into a mirage, if one exhibits one’s falsehood to the other.

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