• Myanmar’s military has seized power in a coup against the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • The Army said it had carried out the detentions in response to “election fraud”.


For India, the return to military rule by Myanmar’s Tatmadaw (Army) and the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and the political leadership of the National League of Democracy (NLD) are a repeat of events 30 years ago.

What lies ahead for India?

India’s reaction is likely to be different this time. India does care about democracy in Myanmar, but that’s a luxury it knows it will not be able to afford for the time being. Why? Because,

  • India’s security relationship with the Myanmar military has become extremely close, and it would be difficult to “burn bridges” with them given their assistance in securing the North East frontiers from insurgent groups.
  • Changed image of Ms. Suu Kyi: Her image as a democracy icon and Nobel peace laureate has been damaged by her time in office, where she failed to push back the military, and even defended the Army’s pogrom against Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2015.
  • Benefits for China: A harsh reaction from India, on the lines of that from the U.S., which has threatened action against those responsible for the “coup” unless they revoke the military’s takeover, would only benefit China.
  • Apart from strategic concerns, India has cultivated several infrastructure and development projects with Myanmar, which it sees as the “gateway to the East” and ASEAN countries (For example: India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport network, as well as a plan for a Special Economic Zone at the Sittwe deep-water port).
  • Besides, India still hopes to help resolve the issue of Rohingya refugees that fled to Bangladesh, while some still live in India, and will want to continue to engage the Myanmar government on that.            


  • India should continue to engage with the present regime in Myanmar working towards mutual development of people of both the countries while it should support sharing experiences in constitutionalism and federalism to assist Myanmar in resolving the prevailing stalemate.


  • Location – Myanmar, also known as Burma, is in South East Asia and neighbours Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China, and India.
  • Demography – It has a population of about 54 million, most of whom are Burmese speakers, although other languages are also spoken. The biggest city is Yangon (Rangoon) but the capital is Nay Pyi Taw.
  • Religion – The main religion is There are many ethnic groups in the country, including Rohingya Muslims.
  • Polity:
    • The country gained independence from Britain in 1948.It was ruled by the armed forces from 1962 until 2011, when a new government began ushering in a return to civilian rule.
    • In the 2010s, the military regime decided to transition the country towards democracy.Although the armed forces remained powerful, political opponents were freed and elections were allowed to be held.
    • The NLD won the 2015 election,the country’s first free and fair election participated by multiple parties, and formed the government, raising hopes that the country is on its way to full transition to democracy.

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