Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Is India being a responsible neighbor?

Myanmar (Burma) has been in the news lately for the recent iron hand crack down by the military junta on the saffron clad monk's pro-democracy demonstrations. Myanmar's most prominent allies and trade partners India and China have come under some strong criticism for their low key and muted response. India and China can play a key role in restoring democracy but will the burgeoning trade relations and Burma's strategic geographic location be a strong deterrent for either country to come down heavily on the military regime?

Burma a former British colony gained its independence in 1947. But in 1962, Ne Win; an army general and his military men him overthrew the then elected government. He set up an authoritarian government to smother democracy and realize his vision of a socialist state. He isolated the country from the rest of the world, created a one-party system and cracked down on any expression that detracted from this vision. The once most prosperous part of the British Empire transformed into one of the world's poorest nations.

Ne Win's rule finally ended in 1988 finally after nationwide demonstrations mainly by students calling for democracy that were forcibly and brutally crushed.

India was the first neighboring country to criticise the Burmese military government's actions during people’s uprising. The Indian Embassy in Rangoon is said to have actively supported the pro-democracy student activists.

Yet later that year came the .............

Read the full article for more on how and why India reversed it policies towards Burma and where it stands today at "India Indeed: Indepth"

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