Foreign Secretary Shringla In Myanmar, There Could Be A China Reason Behind Sudden Visit

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New Delhi: In the first high-level visit to Myanmar from India following the military coup earlier this year, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will travel to the neighboring country on Wednesday.

In a midnight coup on February 1, the government of Suu Kyi was evicted and the Myanmar military seized power because of what it called widespread fraud in elections last year.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Shringla would hold discussions with the State Administration Council, political parties and members of civil society in Myanmar.

“Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will pay a two-day working visit to Myanmar on December 22 and 23. During the visit, the foreign secretary will hold discussions with the State Administration Council, political parties and members of civil society,” the MEA said

“Issues relating to humanitarian support to Myanmar, security and India-Myanmar border concerns, and the political situation in Myanmar will be discussed,” it said in a statement.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s visit comes at a time when China has started warming up to Myanmar even as the US has increased restrictions on the country.

Recently, Myanmar has accepted the Chinese yuan as an official settlement currency for border trade with China. China is Myanmar’s biggest trading partner and its largest source of foreign investment.

Apart from this, the military regime of Myanmar has also conducted special training for officers.

The increasing Chinese activity in Myanmar is a matter of concern for India. Myanmar shares a 1,640 kilometer-long border with a number of northeastern states, including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

India has been concerned over some militant groups from the Northeast region taking shelter in Myanmar and getting help and logistics.

Before the military coup, India was helping Myanmar in infrastructural development and also giving military support. Last year, India had announced that it would deliver a kilo class submarine, INS Sindhuvir, to Myanmar’s Navy.

It is believed that with the visit of the Foreign Secretary, there will be an attempt to boost communication with Myanmar administration. India’s endeavour will be to maintain a working relationship with the military regime of Myanmar.

At the same time, in view of several complaints of human rights abuses coming from Myanmar, India will request the administration to maintain law and order and return to the democratic process.

On February 1, Myanmar’s military grabbed power and detained Nobel laureate Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD). The country witnessed massive protests following the coup.

As the Myanmarese military continued its crackdown on civilians protesting against the coup, India in April condemned any use of violence and said it stood for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar.

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