New Delhi: India on Monday strongly maintained that “democratic process must be upheld” in eastern neighbour Myanmar where the army has staged a coup and detained the elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “We have noted the developments in Myanmar with deep concern. India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar,” an MEA statement said here. It said – “We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld. We are monitoring the situation closely.”
Besides Suu Kyi, several other politicians have been detained in the early hours today. Military TV said a state of emergency had been declared for one year. The military taking over power comes after tensions rose between the civilian government and the military following a disputed election. Myanmar was ruled by the military until democratic reforms began in 2011.
The military said on Monday it was handing power to commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing because of “election fraud”, a BBC report said. Myanmar has a complex relationship with China and under Aung San Suu Kyi lately inched closer to India. The National League for Democracy under Suu Kyi swept November 2020 polls but the military had their objections.
In 2020, the Indian army chief Gen M M Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla met State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Commander in Chief of Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Gen Naravane also met Vice Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Armed Services. The military-civil wing (foreign ministry) diplomatic initiative was vital given certain sensitivity and strategic importance attached to the relations between two countries.
It can be mentioned that for long, China has been a hyperactive nation in Myanmar but over the
last few years, New Delhi’s relations have improved a lot. During the visit, in yet another milestone, India announced a grant of USD 2 million for the construction of the border haat bridge at Byanyu/Sarsichauk in Chin State that will provide increased economic connectivity between Mizoram in India and Myanmar.