What are the relations between the UNPO and Myanmar

India: The relationship between Myanmar and India from the perspective of the former Indian ambassador

A. India's Myanmar Policy

India's policy towards Myanmar is very often misunderstood. India is in a quandary here, moving in a vicious circle. No matter what measures India takes, many people in India or abroad will always have something to complain about for various reasons. So the following is an attempt to explain why India is doing what it is doing - namely to strategically and preventively prevent the neighboring state of Myanmar from being used by third parties as a tool to cause trouble for India. This attitude came about as a result of inescapable practical constraints.

Myanmars borders several states in northeast India over a distance of 1,463 km, states that are remote within India and far from the center of the country, which gives Myanmar a very great strategic importance for India. Because of this geographical situation, Myanmar, whether wanted or not, can become the starting point for attacks on India - or a natural buffer that can protect India from its most important adversary, the People's Republic of China, in this strategically very important region.

Myanmar's domestic and foreign policy can to a large extent affect several very important strategic interests of India, such as:

  1. The protection of Indian territory in the northeast of the country
  2. Economic growth and development in remote northeast India
  3. The termination of several longstanding insurgency movements in the northeastern states
  4. India's strategic interests in the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the security of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  5. With its large natural gas reserves, Myanmar is potentially an energy supplier for India
  6. As part of India's “Look East” policy, Myanmar forms the only land bridge between India and the states of Southeast Asia
  7. China's aspirations in Southeast Asia

Aside from the need for good bilateral relations, India's two main long-term goals with regard to Myanmar are as follows:

First, it is about spurring the economic growth and development of the northeastern states of India, otherwise they will be neither safe nor stable in the long term. From an economic point of view, it makes much more sense for these states in the northeast to obtain their consumer goods and other daily needs from and via Myanmar than to deliver them on long, expensive, cumbersome and time-consuming routes from other parts of India. These states and northern Myanmar have long formed a natural economic zone, and a major factor in India's policy towards Myanmar has been to restore this mutually beneficial situation. Apart from the fossil fuel sector, India is currently the most important export country for Myanmar and its fourth most important trading partner - albeit far behind the other two neighboring countries, Thailand and China.

Second, it is about preventing Myanmar from becoming a kind of satellite state for the Chinese with regard to China's India policy.

Four of India's fragile, riot-plagued northeastern states lie in an area between China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. It has a 1,463 km long, very permeable border with Myanmar. One of these states is Arunachal Pradesh, the largest and most sparsely populated of the seven northeastern states of India. China makes claims to this area, and it is 1,125 km border with China.

Of all of India's South Asian neighbors, China has the greatest influence on Myanmar. The relationship between China and Myanmar takes place on many levels and is very extensive.

a) Myanmar's economy is becoming increasingly networked with that of China. The country is inundated with cheap Chinese goods and its wood reserves are exported to China. China also masters oil and gas field exploration and is building numerous infrastructures and hydropower plants in the country.

b) China has developed infrastructures in Myanmar that are of both strategic and economic importance to it. These include ports, gas pipelines and power grids that connect the Yunnan region to the Indian Ocean on the Bay of Bengal.

c) China has been a main ally of Myanmar since 1988 and has protected the country from international punitive actions through its diplomatic efforts.

d) China is Myanmar's main arms supplier.

e) It is generally assumed that over two million Chinese currently live in Myanmar. Mandalay is now a largely Chinese city, and small businesses are increasingly being owned by Chinese too.

In light of all of the above seven factors, China is able to act in a way that has enormous strategic implications for India. Should China achieve absolute supremacy in Myanmar, the northeastern states of India would be encircled by China, and China's border would de facto extend to the Bay of Bengal. Should the relationship between China and Myanmar develop in this way, India's national security, the country's well-being, and the role it will play in Asia in the future would depend on China's strategic plans and intentions. It is therefore crucial for India to prevent total Chinese dominance in Myanmar, which would turn the country into an instrument of China's strategic interests.

These overarching reasons influence India's policy towards Myanmar, and since they are determined by geography, nothing will change that. India therefore has no choice but to actively cooperate with Myanmar, regardless of the form of government the country has.

When India gained independence in 1947, it chose democracy as its form of government, and although its socio-economic situation was not favorable, the country has since managed to maintain this form of government - a rare exception in the Third World. India prides itself on being the largest democracy in the world and would love to see other states equally blessed.

However, if one actively supports democracy movements in other countries, this can be counterproductive. India tried this once, ironically in Myanmar, and it paid a heavy price for it. Between 1988 and 1991 India was the only neighboring state of Myanmar to sharply criticize the military regime and its brutal suppression of democratic forces; India has supported advocates of democracy in Rangoon and has set up refugee camps in Manipur and Mizoram to accommodate activists and allow them to make their views public. The transmitter All India Radio, which belongs to the Indian state and is operated by it, radiated tirades from the daughter of U Nu, in which she attacked the junta in Myanmar in clear, sometimes even insulting words. India had a much clearer position here than most of the other neighboring countries. The junta was also aware that Aung San Suu Kyi had long-standing, strong ties to India. India's efforts have not helped either her or the cause of democracy - the repressive measures have only intensified. The attitude of India and the criticism and sanctions of the West drove the military regime into the arms of its traditional enemy, China. At least for a time, India was the regime's most hated country. China took advantage of this unexpected gift and quickly stretched out its tentacles to gain a whole new level of access to raw materials in Myanmar and to decisively influence the country on many other levels as well.

Riots first broke out in the northeastern states of India in the mid-1950s. They were actively supported by Pakistan (via what was then East Pakistan) and later, via the territory of Myanmar, and even more so by China. Since Burma, as the country was called at the time, was busy with numerous uprisings in its own country, it could not do much about it. And after India began harshly criticizing the junta and supporting the forces of democracy in the country in 1988, the question of whether Myanmar should help India no longer arose.

This is the background against which India was forced to change its policy in 1993 and to enter into dialogue with the military regime. As part of "Operation Golden Bird" in 1995, the armies of India and Myanmar worked more closely together than ever before. At that time, the 57th Indian Mountain Division had located a unit of 200 insurgents from different groups (NSCN, ULFA and insurgents from Manipur) who had received an extensive delivery of weapons in Bangladesh, on the Bay of Bengal in the city of Cox's Bazar, and which were moved along the Myanmar border towards Manipur. The troops from India and Myanmar now jointly pounded these rebels. The Myanmar military junta canceled the operation and the insurgents managed to escape.

At the top of all parties in India, among academics, in civil society and in the media, there have always been numerous supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi, which has to do with her close ties to India. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese refugees and dissidents live in India to this day. The turnaround in India's foreign policy came against the will of the political establishment under pressure from the Foreign Ministry and the army, which emphasized India's “national interests”. K.R. Narayanan, a former foreign minister who served as India's ambassador to China and the United States, became vice president in 1992 and then president of India in 1997 for a five-year term. Narayanan's wife was Burmese, and it was largely because of these two that Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nehru Award.
From 1998 to 2004, George Fernandes was India's Secretary of Defense. As a man of strong convictions, he granted exile to numerous Burmese democracy activists, sometimes even in his own home, which caused difficulties and anger for the Indian Foreign Ministry. In its early years, the policy of rapprochement with Myanmar experienced turbulent times. It was only in the past six or seven years that the government pushed this policy more strongly, primarily with the aim of curbing China's influence in Myanmar. This has meant that India is now also involved in projects in Myanmar such as the construction of roads and railways, as well as in the exploration of oil and gas fields, hydropower plants, the expansion of ports, including technical support in training, in IT and comes in education. The aim of all of these measures is to expand India's influence. Since Myanmar is also concerned about China's increasing influence in the country, the Indian initiatives are open to everyone.

Because of the geopolitical constraints mentioned, there is no reason for India to be ashamed of its policy towards Myanmar. Rather, the dialogue that India and Asean have had with Myanmar has resulted in the country not coming entirely under the trustees of China. Coupled with Myanmar's growing concern about China's increasingly outrageous and exploitative treatment of the Burmese economy and the country's natural resources, the politics of India and Asean and the hope that international sanctions could be lifted have contributed significantly to this The situation in Myanmar has developed so positively, as can currently be observed.

India is obviously very satisfied with the current developments in Myanmar and sees the events since the elections in November 2010 as extremely positive. It can be assumed that the moral dichotomy that long shaped India's relations with Myanmar is now disappearing by itself. Without speculating too much about the details, it can be assumed that relations between India and Myanmar will develop better and closer in the future than they are now or at all. This can also be seen in the official Indian reactions to developments in Myanmar. In November 2010, the Indian Foreign Minister issued a statement in which he "welcomed the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi" and expressed the hope that this would be "the beginning of a process of reconciliation with Myanmar". It continued: “The recent elections in Myanmar are an important step by the Myanmar government towards a process of national reconciliation. We have always encouraged them to drive this process forward on a broad basis and holistically. "
India “welcomed the successful completion of Myanmar's by-elections on April 1, 2012. The results officially announced so far show that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League of Democracy (NLD) to an overwhelming election victory. According to the count, the NLD has won 40 of the 45 seats that were available for election. We warmly congratulate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League of Democracy on this. These elections are a milestone on the road to Myanmar's transition to multi-party democracy. "

In 2011 the President of Myanmar, the Foreign Minister, a high-level delegation of MPs and the Speaker of the House of Commons visited India. India's foreign minister was on a state visit to Myanmar in 2011 and the prime minister is expected in May 2012, for the first time in 25 years.

B. An Indian perspective on the nature and background of political change in Myanmar

India is keeping a low profile when it comes to official statements on internal political positions and developments in other countries. To address this problem, this part of my essay gives a personal, albeit Indian, interpretation of the nature and background of the political change that is taking place in Myanmar. The passages in italics are my personal interpretation of how the Indian establishment sees this political change. This second part of the essay should be understood as a supplement to the first part, in which I gave an overview of Indian Myanmar politics. Since the internal political dynamics of Myanmar are perceived very differently in the west and in India, I hope that this essay in its entirety can provide insights into how India, by and large, sees its relationship with Myanmar - something that observers and analysts find should be of interest in the west.

For the first time in over two decades, the world is seeing Myanmar for positive reasons. If one wants to assess the realities on the ground in Myanmar today, it makes sense not to make any value judgments about the nature of the previous political conditions or the nature of the current political developments, and one should refrain from speculating about further developments. An objective comparison of the situation since the new government took office in April 2011 with conditions for much of the past two decades suggests that the processes of change that are taking place now represent a breathtaking, recently unimaginable change.

The previous government

The "State Council for Peace and Development" (SPDC), as the military junta in power had called itself since 1997, had become the embodiment of the state and was, until his resignation and the dissolution of the SPDC on March 30, 2011, from his Chairman, General Than Shwe, personified. All power of the state was in fact in the hands of Than Shwe, who completely dominated government and politics. He was an unyielding and unequivocal representative of a despotic, strong central government that had every aspect of the life of the citizens of Myanmar directly and comprehensively in its hands. So, in a nutshell, the situation in Myanmar in the two decades before the new government took office in April 2011.

The structure of the new government

In the new government of Myanmar, power is distributed among several poles, namely the president, who heads the executive, the military, parliament and the party - and all of this within the framework of the country's constitution. The constitution, the office of president and parliament were all abolished in 1988; now it is there again, albeit in a completely different form. A term of office of five years applies to positions in the legislative and executive branches. If individuals are skilfully shifted to their respective positions, the new order can ensure that decisions about state affairs are made by collegial colleagues from now on - a significant, fundamental difference compared to the past.
According to the Constitution, the two most powerful offices are those of President and Army Commander-in-Chief. The question of which persons hold these offices obviously sends out clear political signals.

The president

There were three promising candidates for the top position in the state, namely first General Thura Shwe Mann, former Chief of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force and number three within the SPDC, second Prime Minister General Thein Sein, who was number four in the SPDC, and third General Tin Aung Myint Oo, former Quartermaster General and, as First Secretary of the SPDC, more powerful than his position as number five of the regime suggests. In Shwe Mann and Myint Oo, many saw the most ambitious members of the SPDC; both had good chances for the office. Both are considered hardliners in the public eye and have a reputation for being active in business and being corrupt.

In contrast to these two, Thein Sein is considered to be comparatively accessible, as a capable, humble and honest man of soft tones. He is not associated with the new powerful cliques that amalgamating business and politics, which have formed in recent years after state property was privatized. In contrast to Than Shwe and Shwe Mann, there are no scandals in his family or children.

In contrast to his main rivals, Thein Sein spent most of his military career not in the field, but in the office, which is why, unlike many other members of the SPDC, he is not accused of having been directly involved in human rights violations. He rose to the SPDC in 2001; In 2003 he became its second secretary and finally in October 2004 first secretary - the fourth highest position within the junta. He was given the task of organizing the national convention that drafted the current state constitution. In 2007 he was appointed Prime Minister. After Myanmar was badly devastated by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, he became chairman of the emergency aid coordination committee, which made him the regime's liaison for all those involved in international aid. He has represented his country at Asean meetings and in 2009 attended the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, making him the first Myanmar political leader to visit the United States since 1988.

Thein Sein is considered a quiet, patient listener, but according to interlocutors within Asean, he is also a convinced and convincing tough representative of his regime and its politics. Prior to the November 2010 elections, Thein Sein was also asked to lead the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), commonly known as the party of the military.

From what has been said, it is clear that Thein His career path, image, personality and reputation is vastly different from that of most of his colleagues within the SPDC, and even more so from the person of Than Shwe. In spite of all these differences, why was he called to the top? There is only one logical reason for this: The various “civil” positions that Thein Sein held gave Than Shwe the opportunity to observe closely how he acted as the face of the regime in domestic and foreign policy. Obviously he liked what he saw. If you compare his career to the 2003 seven-step roadmap for democracy, it becomes clear that the former rulers wanted both to bring about fundamental change and to keep overly ambitious individuals off the top. Thein Sein seems to have been built up for the top position.
President Thein Sein showed quickly and decisively what he stands for. In the past ten months he has made a number of important decisions that would have been inconceivable under the previous administration. Everyone was amazed when he put China's plans for the Myitsone Dam on hold.

The commander in chief

The highest ranking officer in the new order is the commander in chief of the armed forces; according to the constitution, he is the second most powerful man in the state after the president. As the successor to Than Shwe, General Min Aung Hlaing was appointed commander in chief. He is widely seen as a career officer who has almost never made negative headlines. He is seventh within the SPDC and younger than the current leaders of the USPD government. All members of the military leadership are younger than 55 today, a generation change that is all the more impressive as it happened all at once.

Min Aung Hlaing has quickly left his mark on the armed forces, reassigning the top ranks and dismissing a number of senior officers. It is widely believed that part of his support for the president is because he wants to restore the reputation of the armed forces and build a professional military in the changed political environment. Some sources indicate that there is an agreement between him and the president according to which he stays out of political and administrative issues and in return is allowed to lead the armed forces undisturbed. He may be toying with the presidency for the future. All of this suggests that the military should work with the new civilian agencies rather than competing with them or thwarting their actions.


In November 2010 a parliament was elected for the first time since 1990, which means that Myanmar now has a legislature again. While it is true that the military nominates 25 percent of all MPs at the highest, regional and local levels, since many of the old officers had to retire, these are now exclusively younger officers below the rank of colonel.

The regime had meticulously prepared the 2010 elections to ensure that there would be no surprises as in 1990. The opposition won a total of 16 percent of the seats, although this proportion has now increased with the overwhelming victory of the NLD in the by-elections. Despite fears to the contrary, no attempt was made to manipulate the election results. More importantly, the opposition was even allowed to take part in the elections. The regime has also allowed parties representing the interests of certain ethnic groups to do well in most of the parliaments of the seven states predominantly inhabited by these ethnic groups; the USDP is in the minority in six out of seven of these parliaments. Opposition politicians take part in debates in parliament, make suggestions and ask questions that the government answers, which also exposes inconvenient facts which the local media and the media of Burmese exiles report on. Who would have believed that this would be possible in the first few months after the elections?

The fact that there were elections and that there is a functioning parliament - that is, that the people, albeit watered down, finally have a vote, and that the most dramatic decision by the new government, the construction of the Myitsone Dam, first in the Parliament was proclaimed, all of this indicates a very clear change.

The party

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), founded and led by the military, holds 883 (76.5 percent) of the 1,154 seats in parliament. Second tier men like Htay Oo, Aung Thaung and Maung Oo have been given responsibility to lead the party after the elections. The party already plays a role in the new balance of power; that she would win a large majority in the elections was to be expected. The fact that the USDP has also been able to attract doctors, school principals, business people, etc., people who are highly respected in their communities, as candidates cannot simply be ignored. In the course of time the party will almost certainly be able to build a mass base that is truly rooted in the people.

The ban on the National League for Democracy was lifted and the criteria for being admitted to the election as a party or candidate were relaxed, so that Aung San Suu Kyi and the NDL could also apply for 45 seats in the by-elections in early April - from which they won 43, including all in the capital Nay Pi Daw, a city in which mainly officials, military and their families live, as well as in Rangoon. The fact that manipulations did not attempt to prevent the overwhelming election victory of the NLD shows that times have fundamentally changed. Could anyone have imagined, even a year ago, that Aung San Suu Kyi would sit in parliament? Her election gave parliament legitimacy, even though she and her party boycotted the elections in November 2010.

The minorities and decentralization

Second Vice President of Parliament is Dr. Mauk Kham, a medical professional who runs a prestigious private clinic in Lashio and heads a private hospital. He is also chairman of the Lashio Shan Literary and Cultural Association. A number of other members of this association belong to the governing body of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party - the ethnic party that did best in the elections. Before his election to the House of Lords, Dr. Mauk Kham convinced to run for the USDP. As one of two Vice-Presidents of Parliament, he is also a member of the powerful National Security and Defense Council. This makes him the highest-ranking member of a national minority within the government, and the fact that he sits on top government bodies is a very positive and welcome development.

All fourteen states or regions have their own parliaments and governments, led by a prime minister. In addition, there are six self-governing regions for certain ethnic groups (the Danu, Kokang, Naga, Palaung, Pao and Wa), which gives them a certain degree of autonomy. Although the legislative and executive powers of the regions are limited, this will mean that more consideration will be given to local concerns in government business, as local decisions will now be made locally. Many of the USPD representatives at this level are respected local figures.

The fact that a certain degree of decentralization has been created through the establishment of legislative and executive bodies for the minorities for the first time at local level is a new and welcome aspect of governance in Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The tense situation between the military regime and Aung San Suu Kyi shaped Myanmar's domestic politics for two decades (during which time she was under house arrest for 15 years). She had refused to promise not to be politically active in the future - but the regime released her unconditionally from house arrest on November 13, 2010, less than a week after the elections. All of this happened when Than Shwe was still the absolute ruler of the country.

To list all of her political activities since her release would fill a medium-length book. Here are just a few of the most important ones: Soon after her release, her son Kim Aris was allowed to see his mother for the first time in over a decade, and together they visited the ancient royal city of Bagan for four days. Since her release, she has been able to receive high-ranking foreign visitors and, which would previously have been impossible, give interviews to foreign media; although many of their remarks were very critical, no action was taken against them.

To the surprise of the world public, President Thein Sein met her for an hour in the presidential palace on August 19, 2011, when Suu Kyi officially visited the capital Nay Pyi Taw for the first time. A dinner with the President was part of her visit, and throughout she was treated "with all the honors that a person of the highest order deserves." All media reported about it on their front pages with full-page photos; Until recently, it was illegal in Myanmar to post a picture of her. Another meeting took place on April 11, 2012. No reports have yet been received on the results of this second meeting. There are indications that Suu Kyi, formerly known as an idealist who acted uncompromisingly and never got off her high moral steed, is transforming herself into a shrewd politician. In any case, your public omissions are becoming increasingly binding.

All of this shows that the regime's stance and actions towards Aung San Suu Kyi have changed for the better, and that it has now more than tacitly accepted her status as a symbolic figure. The government is doing everything possible to ensure that it participates actively in the political life of Myanmar. She, too, obviously seems to be making a conscious effort to create a new beginning. If anyone had thought such developments possible only twelve months ago, one would have doubted their sanity. It is clear that the political atmosphere in the country has changed in an extremely dramatic way.

Than Shwe

In contrast to Ne Win, 1988, and Saw Maung, 1989, who were overthrown by other generals, Than Shwe relinquished power himself and at a time of his choosing. It was also groundbreaking that both Than Shwe and his deputy Muang Aye left the army on March 30, 2011 and gave up all official positions. Than Shwe has not been seen since his abdication, and it is not known what he is currently doing. His portrait was removed from government buildings. Although he was larger than life for over two decades, he withdrew from public life practically overnight. It's an extraordinary, breathtaking change, and no matter what critics say, this very clear fact cannot be dismissed as a mere cosmetic change.

The question that arises is why Than Shwe, Myanmar's undisputed autocrat, and with him the military regime he presided over and whose position of power seemed incontestable, decided, as happened, to voluntarily initiate a process leading to his departure from of power and the weakening of the role of the military. Since nobody really knows what he was thinking, one can only speculate. I think there can only be one plausible answer: Perhaps he had an inkling of his mortality, perhaps he had a vision of his historical legacy, which, I feel, he is extremely aware of, and which he recognized - as he was under his rule had achieved a kind of peace and stability that the country had not seen in the first fifty years since independence - it was now time to fundamentally transform Myanmar's political system, which would only be possible if he personally supported the Power renounced. Despite all the wrongdoings he is accused of and despite the dubious road on which he led his country, Than Shwe was always a passionate patriot. It is also noteworthy that, unlike many dictatorships in the Third World - and increasingly also in democracies - where there are many examples of strong leaders trying to establish a dynasty through their children and relatives, Than Shwe never has a close relative a government position was aimed at making him or her his successor.

Than Shwe directed the process in which a new, complex and detailed constitution was created, he closely monitored the selection of candidates for the parliamentary elections, and he made sure that after the elections, in a now completely different form of government, certain positions with handpicked People were occupied. In the new system, power is distributed among a number of institutions and people. Such institutions had not existed for 20 years, and they were being revived in new forms. The people who preside over them had previously belonged collectively to the only institution with power in the state, the military. Now they, as individuals, and the institutions that run them, are so distributed that there is inevitably a separation of powers. Former political heavyweights who don't like this will seek to build their power, and there is a possibility that friction will arise between the newly promoted military who now lead the army and the former generals who may now be in find leading but unfamiliar “civil” functions. Without overarching controls, rivalries between the new leaders and the new military can hardly be avoided. Camps have already formed in the ruling USDP party. The decisive factor will be whether the design of the new system of government prevents a functioning or even successful dictatorship from developing, be it through certain individuals, institutions or the military. The current constitution makes a new Than Shwe next to impossible. Incidentally, all of this will also ensure that the dignity, well-being and safety of Than Shwe and his family are not endangered, even though he has relinquished power.

There is no question that all of this was done by decree and not in an advisory, open and transparent process. In the end, however, we are now seeing a very significant change from one political system to a completely different one.

If, as many claim, Than Shwe is still holding the reins behind the scenes, then he is participating in the changes; if not, one must assume that he gave Thein Sein his place for reform policy before the transfer of power. Whatever the case, change is actually taking place.

Final remark

The type of change is conditioned by several factors: You want to break away from the overwhelming embrace of China, want to be a normal, active member of Asean, want and have to re-establish connections to the rest of the world and especially to the West, want dignity and security of the previous rulers and their fortunes acquired in the dark, want to secure a prayer niche in Myanmar's history - and perhaps they want understanding or absolution from the severely tested Myanmar population.

Myanmar is now clearly and almost irrevocably on the way to a considerably different political future, and it is to be hoped that this will eventually lead to a democracy, perhaps one that is similar to that in other Asean states, no matter how slow and faltering Movement may appear from time to time.

The difference to the past is dramatic and positive. Today we see the greatest opportunity in the last 50 years to fundamentally change Myanmar. As far as India is concerned, these developments are particularly gratifying, as they automatically solve a dilemma that India had fought with for a long time - the dichotomy of actively engaging in a military dictatorship on the one hand and in consideration of national interests and the constraints associated with them, and on the other hand India's narrow one Connection to and support for democratic values. In the case of Myanmar, this dichotomy was exacerbated by the fact that there are strong personal and emotional ties with Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent many years in India, and many other Myanmar leaders who lived in exile in India for years. And there is one other reason that India welcomes change - the very high likelihood that as Myanmar develops relationships with other countries, its dependence on and close ties with China will loosen.

It is now up to the international community to encourage the process of change by lifting sanctions and establishing unconditional relationships with the new government. If this does not happen, the reforms will peter out and the hardliners will try to turn things around - which then would not be the fault of the government in Myanmar alone.


Myanmar / Burma one step further on the way to democracy?

The Myanmar / Burma by-elections on April 1, 2012 attracted a lot of international interest. The opening policy of the government of Thein Seins and the new political situation offer undreamt-of options for the highly isolated country. The dossier gives a snapshot of impressions from the German point of view and the region. It captures voices from China, Thailand, India and Myanmar / Burma.