Why is India a major stakeholder in Rakhine state?

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In an interesting development, what informed official sources have to say is that India has an ‘ABIDING INTEREST’ in resolving crisis which was disturbed relationship of two countries Myanmar and Bangladesh this information comes after, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Manoj Naravane had held meetings with the political as well as military leadership of Myanmar, when they were on 2 day visit on 4th and 5th October 2020.

“India as a close friend, partner and neighbor of both Bangladesh and Myanmar has a deep and abiding interest to see an early stabilization of the situation in the Rakhine State. India supports safe, sustainable and speedy repatriation of displaced persons from Bangladesh to Rakhine State based on the understanding between the two countries”

This statement comes out after the end of the discussions. The Rohingya Crisis has become difficult to resolve as Myanmar has sent additional forces to Rakhine state to which Dhaka has strongly objected.

This statement states how India has an ‘INTEREST’ and wants to see stabilization of situation at earliest in Rakhine, Myanmar. India also wants safe repatriation of displaced persons from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

Rakhine State

Rakhine state is a state in Myanmar, it is situated on the western coast, it is bordered by the Chin state to the north, Magway region, Bago Region and Ayeyarwady region to the east, the Bay of Bengal to the west and the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh to the northwest.

About Rohingya Conflict:

The Rohingya Conflict is an ongoing conflict in northen part of Myanmar’s Rakhine state(earlier known as Arakan)

It is an sectarian violence between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhist communities. There has been crackdown on Rohingya civilians by the security forces of Myanmar and also various attacks carried out by Rohingya insurgents in Buithidaung, Maungdaw and Rathedaung Townships which borders Bangladesh.

THE 2017 Rohingya Persecution is known as ‘ROHINGYA GENOCIDE’ and is an ongoing persecution against the Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar Government, the 2017 persecution against the Rohingya Muslims as well as Non- Muslims has been declared as ethnic cleansing and genocide by various UN agencies.

It led to the largest wave of Rohingyas to flee Myanmar which happened in 2017 which also resulted in largest human exodus in Asia since the Vietnam war.

India’s Stand on Rohingya crisis:

India’s stand has been neutral on this crisis, some of the Rohingyas have been deported back to Myanmar. The Modi Government considers ROHINGYAS as security threat to the country, though India raised concern over the attacks in Myanmar.

India also abstained from voting on an resolution backed by Bangladesh condemning the human rights violation in Myanmar.

When PM Narendra Modi met Aung San Suu Kyi, he expressed concerns on the violence in Myanmar.

We share your concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state&violence against security forces & how innocent lives have been affected.

Increasing presence of India in Rakhine:

India has firmed it plans to increase it’s presence in Rakhine state of Myanmar this comes after Chinese President Xi Jingping made visit to Myanmar in January 2020 and signed a lot of bilateral argeements which includes development of the SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE

and deep water port at Kyaukphyu in Rakhine state.

These two projects are crucial as in the ambitious China-Myanmar Economic Corridor that would allow China to bypass the Strait of Malacca and directly access the Indian Ocean.

In an reply to a Right to Information Act, the Indian Embassy at Yangon revealed about 3 projects which are being currently undertaken in Rakhine state

The reply stated that construction of 250 houses in Rakhine state was completed in first stage and second stage launched under Rakhine state development program.

India will also carry out more development projects in Rakhine projects of Myanmar, a homeland of Myanmar Community. The aim seems to be the hospitable conditions for return of Rohingya community.

The Importance:

India’s stand on Myanmar has a lot to do with geopolitical as well as strategically. It can be seen as China is increasing it’s profile continues to rise in India’s vicinity . New Delhi has therefore, to ensure it’s presence there by developing infrastructure and various projects, not only this Myanmar is an heart of Narendra Modi’s Act east policy with India- Myanmar-Thailand Asian Trilateral Highway Kaladan multimodal projecta road-river-port cargo transport project, BIMSTEC, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.

India is also working with the Myanmar security forces in order to target the insurgents in the north-east and also India shares 1,600 km border with Myanmar and it has been co-operative to flush the naga-militants.

China Factor:

India believes that the isolation of Myanmar by former led to China building it’s political and economic influence in Myanmar. China also used Myanmar’s coco island for military as well as intelligence purposes.

What we can also see, India fearing Chinese encirclement in its neighbourhood where commercial ports of Pakistan, Sri-Lanka and Myanmar being used for military purposes, therefore strangling India’s access to Indian Ocean. China is also a close friend of Pakistan.

Economic Factor

India’s economic influence continues to remain low, even though the bilateral trade between India and Myanmar have doubled since 2008. China is not only biggest trading partner of Myanmar but also dominates investments in the country.


India has been quiet neutral on the Myanmar crisis and also condemned the terror attacks in Myanmar. In September 2017, PM Narendra Modi met Aung San Suu Kyi expressing concern over the same,

One can make out that India has strong intolerance against terror, as it has been a victim of terror attacks too. One can’t deny that Myanmar security forces have been helping India in targeting the northeast militants and also India shares 1,600 km border with Myanmar, so far latter has coperated in flushing the naga-militants therefore India needs a neighbor who can actually help them in such times.

India has also been carrying out various project in Rakhine state and in October, the projects are well appreciated and India has been a friendly neighbor to it’s adjoining countries. 2020 Army Chief General Manoj Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and if one clearly sees the statement it really explains how India is for speedy repatriation of displaced persons to Myanmar.


Even though India carrying out projects and the crucial statement after 4th-5th October 2020 visit, has a lot of importance but it’s to watch out how things pan out with Aung San Suu Kyi wining parliamentary polls, with above points as mentioned it can be seen that India and Myanmar have good diplomatic ties and it will continue to be good.

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