On February 6, 2024, India issued an advisory for its nationals and diaspora living in Myanmar following a sharp downturn in the security situation asking citizens living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State to leave immediately.
Rakhine State is among the areas where armed ethnic groups have registered significant success against Myanmar’s military junta since three powerful organisations launched an offensive in October 2023.
“In view of the deteriorating security situation, the disruption of means of telecommunication, including landlines and severe scarcity of essential commodities, all Indian citizens are advised not to travel to the Rakhine State of Myanmar,” said the advisory issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). “Those Indian citizens living in the Rakhine State are advised to leave the state immediately,” the advisory said.
These remarks by the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal came hours after Myanmar’s military rulers extended a state of emergency that has been in place since the coup that ousted the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Last Week, India expressed concerns at the violence and instability in Myanmar on the third anniversary of 2021 coup by the military junta and said developments there have direct implications for the security of the country.
The juntas grip on power has been tested by a string of military successes by the pro-democracy resistance forces since October 2023. Besides expressing concerns at the deteriorating security situation in Myanmar which has direct implications for New Delhi, the Indian side had called for the complete cessation of violence and transition towards an inclusive and federal democracy.
We want an early resolution of the issue through constructive dialogue and return of peace and stability in the country, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.
Last week, the United States of America (USA) imposed further sanctions on Myanmar that targeted two entities and several people closely associated with the Junta. The sanctions were aimed at the fuel, the junta uses to conduct air strikes as part of its offensive against resistance forces and military’s ability to manufacture arms.
The coup by the military on February 1, 2021 sparked nationwide chaos and ended a decade of democracy and ethnic reforms, it also sparked uprising by armed ethnic groups in different parts of Myanmar.
In October 2023, the most powerful anti-junta forces Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Arakan Army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) jointly launched a campaign that has seen resistance capture at least 35 towns, including key trade posts and crossings on the border with India and China.
Hundreds of Myanmar military personnel have surrendered to resistance forces in Shan and Rakhine States. More than 600 Myanmar troops also crossed the border with India to escape the fighting and were subsequently repatriated. Thousands of people from Myanmar have also sought refuge in the northeastern states of Manipur and Mizoram.