News / Asia

India Puts Security, Trade With Burma Ahead of Democracy

Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna (file photo)
Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna (file photo)
Daniel Schearf

India's foreign minister is in Burma for meetings with top leaders that are expected to focus on security and trade. New Delhi says the trip, the first since a civilian government took office, is an opportunity to "further vitalize" the relationship.

S.M. Krishna’s visit is India’s first high-level engagement since the country’s military government was replaced with a nominally civilian leadership in March.

India says the two sides will discuss security cooperation as well as trade and investment.

Krishna is not scheduled to meet with opposition and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was banned from participating in the election.

India was once a vocal Suu Kyi supporter but changed its policy in the early 1990s in order to have better cooperation with the military government.

Professor D.S. Muni at Singapore's Institute of South Asian Studies says India realized there was a heavy security cost for supporting Aung San Suu Kyi and calls for democracy in Burma.

“Certainly as a result of change in New Dehli’s policy there has been considerable cooperation on the border, for instance," Muni said. "Lot of northeast insurgencies which have been earlier taking shelter in Myanmar - the Myanmar government’s cooperation is forthcoming.”

Muni says although there is cooperation, India has not been entirely satisfied with Burma’s border security and hopes to improve communications with the new government over the issue.  

Critics say Burma’s controversial November election merely gave a civilian face to continued military rule.

A quarter of all parliament seats were reserved for the military and the military party won by a landslide amid widespread reports of voter fraud and intimidation.

Muni says although India is not pushing openly for democratic change in Burma, it has engaged in quiet diplomacy on the issue.

The engagement policy has also paid off economically for both Burma and India.

Bilateral annual trade volume shot from tens of millions of dollars in the 1980s to about a billion and a half dollars last year. Muni says Burma has also discussed brokering new deals for critical energy supplies including oil.

While that remains far less than the several billion dollars of annual Chinese trade and investment, Muni says India is more worried about Chinese naval activity in the region.

"Recently there were visit[s] of the two Chinese ships," Muni said. "Now there is a Chinese ship coming to Singapore. The Chinese are setting up a port development in Sri Lanka, they're planning a port development in Chittagong [Bangladesh]. So, I think this naval activity has suddenly alerted almost anyone who has concern for security in the Bay of Bengal.”

The Indian foreign minister’s visit coincides with a visit to Burma by a delegation from the European Union.

The EU group also met with government ministers and was to meet Tuesday evening with Aung San Suu Kyi.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More