Myanmar

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  • Assessing the Bodh Gaya Terror Attack

    With increased cross-border mobility, instantaneous access to information and easy reach to small arms, terror attacks in India are finding new targets.

    July 25, 2013

    Srikanth Reddy asked: What are the causes for Rakhine unrest? How does it impact democratisation process in Myanmar?

    Udai Bhanu Singh replies: Perhaps, the biggest challenge Myanmar regime faces is the task of national reconciliation among the various ethnic groups. In this respect, its challenge is greater than the challenge Indonesia faced in the post-Suharto era of democratisation. Ethnic minorities constitute an important factor in Myanmar’s politics. The Burmans make up about two-thirds of the total population. The ethnic minorities include the Karens, the Shans, the Mons, the Chins, Kachins and the Rohingyas. Only the Rohingyas are not recognised as a national minority. The deep ethnic animosities in Rakhine state continue to destabilise Myanmar with Rohingyas comprising much of the internally displaced population in the country. They have been seeking refuge in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia as the boat people. The commission on Rakhine communal violence submitted its over-100 page report to the president on April 22, 2013. It dealt with the causes of the conflict, solution to the problems that led to the conflict and action points for the government. Earlier, the Human Rights Watch had published a report titled “All You Can do is Pray.”

    Myanmar thus needs to resolve the Rohingya problem: would that be done by granting them citizenship status or by according them ethnic minority status or by reducing the barriers on movement and their absorption in different part of the country, remains to be seen. Many federal solutions, with their respective strengths and weaknesses, have been suggested in this regard, including various models of federalism attempted across Europe and Asia. But the model which would suit Myanmar best would be one which takes the local conditions into account. Could the Indian experience be the one that could be emulated by Myanmar?

    Myanmar Opens to Business Opportunities, but is it sustainable?

    After years of political and economic isolation, Myanmar is opening up to investment particularly in the energy sector. There are however, accompanying uncertainties and risks.

    June 14, 2013

    Ethnic Tension and Political Drift in Myanmar

    The impact of discord and disharmony within the country has started manifesting itself in the economic sphere. Despite the US and EU relaxing their sanctions, development problems have started showing up.

    May 27, 2013

    ASEAN in Myanmar's Foreign Policy

    Event: 
    Fellows' Seminar
    June 28, 2013
    Time: 
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    More Ethnic Riots in Myanmar: Disturbances in Meikhtila

    Unless the leaders of varying political hue and institutional oligarchs, including the military and, above all, Su Kyi, show political wisdom, incidents such as those in Meikhtila, Yamethin, and state military action against the Karens and Kachins will continue to recur.

    March 28, 2013

    Do the Changes in Myanmar Signify a Real Transition? A Response to the Debate

    Myanmar's complexity makes it difficult to find agreement on its multiple facets. What makes it doubly confounding is that the country is passing through a phase of transition. My initial article on this transition has triggered some interesting responses. This shows how reality on the ground is variously interpreted depending on the background of the observer and the special expertise and experience they bring to bear on it. Approaching a subject as interesting as Myanmar from different angles hopefully succeeds in providing a multi-dimensional and more rounded perspective

    January 2013

    Myanmar's Transition: A Comment

    Myanmar's reforms have generated much debate among scholars, both inside and outside the country. One of the key questions asked is: do the changes in Myanmar signify a real transition? There are good reasons to doubt the genuineness of the transition because the change was initiated by a military regime that had ruled the country for decades. The military has ensured its role in the transition by guaranteeing seats to the military in parliament and many of the ‘civilian’ leaders in the new government were until recently military officers. I agree with Dr.

    January 2013

    Contours of Change in Myanmar—and Future Prospects

    Dr. Udai Bhanu Singh astutely raises multiple questions in his article in order to trigger a debate. But his take on today's Myanmar is evident from the first paragraph (‘This time the change that is occurring is substantive, not cosmetic’) and the last paragraph (‘Myanmar is poised for change; incremental change will surely gather momentum once the dithering ends’). I hold a different perspective on the country's internal politics and external relations, which is reflected in the analysis.

    January 2013

    Response to Udai Bhanu Singh's Essay, Do the Changes in Myanmar Signify a Real Transition?

    1. In general terms, it is my impression that the author is far too optimistic about what recent changes in Myanmar can lead to. Power is still in the hands of the military and there is precious little a small group of National League for Democracy (NLD) assemblymen and women (seven per cent of the total) can accomplish. Besides, the November 2010 election was blatantly rigged, and there is no guarantee that the next election, in 2015, will not also be tampered with.

    January 2013

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