Myanmar Coup: Trouble for the World
The very first question that comes to my mind after reading about the Myanmar crisis is how can something this big be ignored by the world? And so let's talk about it and find what all is being done and what else needs to be taken care of.
It all started on 1st February, 2021 when Tatmadaw (it is the official name of the army of Myanmar) detained President Win Myint, state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of Parliament. They also proclaimed national emergency for 1 year and since they have declared the November 2020 elections to be invalid hence they are planning to hold “elections” after an year long emergency. Till then all the powers lie in the hands of Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing.
As I sit down to write this article the death toll has already reached 500 people who have been protesting against this transfer of power. But it is not an isolated event, we must also look at the history of Myanmar to have a better understanding of the present.
History of Myanmar
Myanmar was also a colony of Britain like us, till 1948 but even after that the road to democracy was not so smooth for them. Since they had a temporary military government in 1958 although it did willingly transfer the power to democratically elected government by holding general elections in 1960. But it was not more than two years that the military came to power again. This lasted 26 long years.
It was after the Uprising 8888 of 1988 that the military agreed on holding free elections in 1990 but because Aung San Suu Kyi’s party i.e. National League Democracy emerged victorious so they did not accept the result. It was only after 2011 that democratic transition began and elections were finally held in 2015.
The Response Till Now
The condemnation of such a coup comes from all over the world with the US calling it a “reign of terror”. Countries like the UK are also employing sanctions on military leaders whereas South Asian countries are trying their diplomatic means to overcome such a situation.
China’s role has been very suspicious since the think tank of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has published a report claiming that unregistered flights from china are landing in Myanmar with unknown personnel that too every night when there already exists a ban on international flights by Myanmar’s military. Recently, Myanmar was developing certain large scale projects with India like the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral parkway and building a bridge at Byanyu-Sarsichauk which was basically for better economic connectivity between Mizoram and Myanmar. These bilateral relations may have been troubling China when they themselves could only get 9 projects approved out of 38. Although it seems that China is in favor of releasing Suu Kyi.
Earlier the Manipur government had issued orders to politely turn away refugees. Later the order was withdrawn and now the government is offering food and shelter to refugees on humanitarian grounds. Although Mizoram government has taken a very strong stand on the issue and also held a meeting with the acting foreign minister who is basically appointed by the Government-in-exile.
Facts about an Indian representative being present in a military parade on Myanmar Armed Forces day have surfaced. And yet there is no official condemnation presented by the Indian government.
India is bound to face major issues because of the porous borders i.e. unfenced border that we share with Myanmar.
We were already dealing with the refugee issue especially the Rohingya (persecuted ethnic minority group in Myanmar) on whom the Myanmar government was itself organizing genocide.
Although India is not a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention yet it has provided asylum to a massive number of refugees following the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
Those who don’t learn from history, tend to repeat it...
It is also very important to mention the events of the past that give us some valuable lessons like the establishment of military rule in Spain in 1939. The civil war was not just a result of internal turmoil but the reluctance of Britain and France in taking any strong decision whereas Hitler and Mussolini openly helped the general Francisco Franco. Result, dictatorship was established in Spain. Hitler and Mussolini came together and got a lot of boost from the incident which ultimately made us all prepare for the second world war. The lesson being, that downfall of democracy in one country can bring curse for the whole world.