Myanmar shadow govt. wants to invite for ASEAN crisis talks
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- Myanmar’s shadow government urged Southeast Asian leaders to give it a seat at the table during crisis talks next week, and not to recognise the military regime that seized power in a February coup.
- Junta leader is expected to join a special ASEAN summit on Myanmar in Jakarta - his first official overseas trip since the putsch(a violent attempt to overthrow a government; a coup.) that ousted civilian leader Aung San Su Kyi.
Consulting and negotiating with the NUG
- The Army has moved to quell mass protests against its rule, killing at least 730 people according to a local monitoring group.
- The military chief's invitation to the meeting of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations has drawn scorn from activists and former lawmakers who have urged foreign leaders not to formally recognise the junta.
- ASEAN had not reached out to them. If ASEAN wants to help solve the Myanmar situation, they are not going to achieve anything without consulting and negotiating with the NUG, which is supported by the people and has full legitimacy. It's important that this military council is not recognised. This needs to be handled carefully.
- Military dictators should not be allowed to rule. The dictatorship will be uprooted. Support the national unity government.
Myanmar Crisis and India
- India has moved to a more proactive stand as concerns grow worldwide about growing internal strife and instability in Myanmar.
- After a closed-door UNSC meeting on Myanmar, Ambassador TS Tirumurti, India‟s Permanent Representative to the UNGA, responded.
- He condemned the violence in Myanmar and condoled the loss of lives.
- He also called for the release of detained leaders and urged maximum restraint.
- The messages underlined India's commitment to a democratic transition.
- There was a line about supporting peace efforts by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member).
- However, ASEAN has been tentative, even timid, in the face of China‟s support to the junta.
Significance with India’s stance
- The recent statement is outright so far by India on Myanmar and a response to criticism of its earlier stand within and outside the country.
- This marks a welcome departure from the stance of befriending the military (which has not always been friendly to India‟s interests) and engaging with the civilian government, which held office only for 5 years.
India’s priorities in the present times
- People of Myanmar - The people of Myanmar have tasted the freedom of expression, assembly and association for the first time in decades under Suu Kyi.
- They are rightfully determined to hold on to this freedom.
- North-East - Another concern is the future stability and security of India‟s North-east.
- The policies that have been espoused at the highest levels of government should also be preserved.
- Notably, the Act East and Neighbourhood First policies are anchored in the eight states of the northeast.
- India should also keep in mind the various insurgent groups from the northeast.
- They have a history of relations with ethnic armed groups in Myanmar.
- The insurgents have taken shelter there and established bases and some still live there.
Impact on Centre-State relations
- The Four states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram have long borders with Myanmar.
- The last two states have taken some 1,500 persons, including a number of junior police officials, fleeing from the crackdown in the bordering Chin State.
- This has raised issues of Centre-state relations.
- New Delhi advised the states on the border not to allow Myanmar nationals fleeing the crackdown to enter Indian territory.
- But Mizoram CM Zoramthanga has rejected this approach, saying that his government will accept people fleeing, on humanitarian grounds.
- He wrote to the prime minister saying that as the world‟s largest democracy India could not stand aside.
- The Manipur government, too, has withdrawn its circular which had asked district officials along the border to “politely” turn back refugees.
Need of a refugee policy
- The Chins in Myanmar and the Mizos and Kukis (and sub-groups) in Mizoram and Manipur are kin.
- A historical affinity connects them by ethnicity, religion, and language.
- In the aftermath of the 1988 army crackdown on the pro-democracy movement that killed thousands, many Chins and other refugees fled to Manipur and Mizoram.
- Local leaders and non-government groups, with the tacit support of central and state agencies, allowed them to live, work and even settle.
- The present situation thus must be utilised by India to develop a long-term approach to the issue of refugees fleeing political persecution in their homelands.
- India does not have a National Refugee Law nor is it a signatory to the UN Convention governing refugees.
- India has allowed Tibetans, Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, Chakmas of Bangladesh, the Lothsampas of Nepali origin from Bhutan, Afghans, Somalis and many others into this land.
- But these remain ad hoc approaches.
- This has been sought to be addressed for six “minority” communities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in a long-term manner by the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
- However, the CAA does not cover many of the cases listed above.
SOURCE: THE HINDU