On November 11, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins a 10-day tour of Myanmar, Australia and Fiji – his longest overseas trip to date. All eyes will be on the East Asia Summit in Myanmar, as well as the G-20 Summit in Australia.
The new Indian government has begun its tenure with a busy calendar of international travel. Most recently, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been in Naypyitaw, Myanmar for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), the East Asia Summit meeting of foreign ministers, and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
On May 8, 2014, India and Myanmar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Border Cooperation. The MoU was signed by Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Indian ambassador to Myanmar, and Major General Kyaw Nyunt, deputy defence minister of Myanmar, in Nay Pyi Taw.
"As in the past, so in the future, the people of India will stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Burma, and whether we have to share good fortune or ill fortune, we shall share it together."
Myanmar is important in India's foreign policy for at least three, if not more, important reasons. First, its strategic importance as a bridge between India and Southeast Asia.
With ongoing communal and ethnic violence on one hand and the implementation of bold reform initiatives on the other, Myanmar's transition from authoritarianism to democracy presents immense challenges as well as opportunities for neighboring India. How New Delhi reacts to these tests will have wide-ranging impacts on the future of India-Myanmar relations.
In Myanmar, Indian businesses may need to stay sharp, perhaps more than play sharp.
The Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline (Myanmar section) commenced delivery of natural gas to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) after it was inaugurated by Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun at Mandalay on July 28.
August 7, 2013: As Myanmar opens up to the West after decades of military rule and self-enforced isolation, China seems to be uncomfortable with the competition for influence it now faces.
July 22, 2013: India has not gained much from Myanmar’s transition from military rule to a fledgling democracy. When Myanmar was ruled by a military junta and shunned by the West, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) were seen as alternatives to Chinese influence.