China-Myanmar Relations

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  • Ashok Kumar asked: What is the politico-strategic impact of China's SEZ in Kyaukphyu and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor on India? Why India has not been able to achieve such advantages in Myanmar?

    Udai Bhanu Singh replies: China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) has been touted as a flagship project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Myanmar. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish CMEC was signed between the two countries in September 2018.

    New Evidence on China’s Intent behind Its Approach to the Sino-Burmese Territorial Dispute 1954-1960

    This paper features a detailed discussion of a speech by Zhou Enlai on July 9, 1957 which was meant to outline “New China's” approach to the Sino-Burmese border dispute. Hitherto available primary and secondary sources do not disclose much about the contents of this particular speech by Zhou.

    Myanmar in China’s Push into the Indian Ocean

    China wants to regain the position it once enjoyed under the military government in Myanmar. However, its efforts at securing a direct access to the Indian Ocean through Myanmar are unlikely to see an early fruition.

    March 14, 2016

    Abhishek Gupta asked : Is there currently any reliable information on whether China plans to use Coco Islands of Myanmar for intelligence/military purposes?

    Sarabjeet Singh Parmar replies: There is currently no reliable information available in open sources on the Chinese plans to use Coco Islands for intelligence or military purposes. Some older reports, dating back to 1992, do refer to setting up of an electronic intelligence installation with antenna towers, radar sites and other related facilities. It was also reported that the Chinese were developing and expanding the air base on the Island. The issue was apparently taken up with Myanmar in 2009 and it denied the presence of the Chinese on Coco Islands.

    For more details, refer to the following:

    Araab Sen asked: How many infrastructure projects in Myanmar are financed or built by China? What is the level of Chinese investments in Myanmar?

    Udai Bhanu Singh replies: As the Kachins launched their protest against the Chinese-led development of Myitsone dam, the Chinese experts themselves wondered if it was "a sane investment?" They raised doubts about the sagacity of making huge investments in Myanmar without giving thought to environmental concerns or popular sentiments. China, of course, made huge investments in the post-1988 period till recently when the West abandoned its self-abnegating policy of non-engagement and sanctions and as Myanmar itself initiated the process of political and economic transition (which included further liberalisation of its investment regime). For details, please refer to the chapter on Myanmar co-authored by me in Rumel Dahiya and Ashok K. Behuria (eds.), India's Neighbourhood: Challenges in the Next Two Decades, Pentagon Security International (New Delhi, 2012).

    China’s Pipelines in Myanmar

    In order to meet its energy demands, China is constructing oil and gas pipelines in Myanmar, almost reaching to the seashores of Bay of Bengal.

    January 10, 2012

    Islandic Hop Scotch in the Indian Ocean Region

    The island hopping game being played out is an indication of China’s strategy for gaining access to the IOR by developing the capabilities of “reach”, “presence” and “sustainability”.

    December 15, 2011

    Sino-Myanmar Military Cooperation and its Implications for India

    China is emerging as the closest strategic partner of Myanmar. This has been advanced by politico-military assistance followed by economic and energy cooperation. Besides, Myanmar is becoming strategically significant for India for strengthening its economic links with South East Asia; for acquiring energy resources and from the security perspective. The Sino-Myanmar military cooperation which started with the negotiation of purchase of arms including jet fighters, armoured vehicles and naval vessels has gone much deeper.

    July 2011

    Tamanthi Hydel Project: India’s Eastern Foothold

    Building dams like the Tamanthi represent India’s attempt to enhance strategic ties with Myanmar, which is seen as India’s gateway to the ASEAN.

    June 06, 2011

    China Entices Myanmar as India Struggles to ‘Look East’

    India must revitalise, implement and act on infrastructure and economic development projects in the North East to build its relationship and harness the energy potential in Myanmar.

    April 11, 2011