Almost a decade since the democratic transition, Myanmar came back under the control of the military junta in February 2021. Since independence, this Southeast nation has struggled with military rule, civil strifes and international isolation due to internal instability. The recent coup came after allegations regarding election discrepancies, quashing all hopes of democratic progress in the near future.
India and Myanmar have recently signed an MoU after holding talks on a range of issues on joint military exercises and training provided to Myanmar Defence Services in India, joint maritime security surveillance and cooperation in new infrastructure projects. These talks are of vital importance given the growing influence of China in the region.
Given the recent crisis in Myanmar and its numerous residents fleeing to India, it has been a difficult situation for India to act promptly and not think about its long term implications. Although India has made promising decisions yet the crisis has highlighted India’s policy regarding refugees. The issue has not been new to Indian policymakers. It has been noticed time and again, whether it is the arrival of Bangladeshi nationals or the Rohingyas. India has always been the first choice for those who are fleeing its neighbouring countries in search of peace and livelihood but given its commitment towards its large population, it has always been a difficult task to take bold actions. Therefore, India’s very principles which make it great have been put into question now and it will be important to notice how India deals with this situation.
The North-Eastern part of India has for a long time been isolated from the rest of India. This is due to various factors like geographical terrain and ethnic differences. The Government of India in recent times has increased its presence through developmental projects while gradually reducing the military presence in the region. Despite these measures, the numerous separatist groups are uniting with each other for the coordinated achievement of their goals. This is a challenge to India as their presence is hindering economic development in the region. An efficient peace negotiation is a need of the hour.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) had filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). The CAA, which was passed by the Indian Parliament in December, aims to hasten citizenship for persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, leaving out the possibility of India giving citizenship to persecuted Muslims from these countries. Fears that this Act, along with plans to create a National Register of Citizens, could strip Indian Muslims of their citizenship have led to protests across the country. In this context, the UNHCHR seeks to intervene as amicus curiae (third party) in the petitions against CAA that is pending before the apex court.