India’s ties with its ‘far off’ neighbour, Myanmar

Last month, reports on cross-border operation against Northeast insurgents by Indian armed forces flooded TV screens and newspaper headlines. This again reminded of the presence of a neighbour that is often missing in our public discourse. The debate that followed in media on whether the government’s ‘political messaging’ was right or wrong kept the issue alive and provided more coverage on Myanmar’s importance to India.

Whatever that means in terms of sustaining our interest on Myanmar, there is no denying that Myanmar’s presence in our public imagination has been sporadic. The country emerges as a neighbour only when a big event related to the country takes place –– a high-level visit, a natural calamity, a major uprising, and the latest to be added to such rarities is cross-border operation.

As before, this time too, Myanmar soon dissipated into the air after a couple of weeks of intense focus. We are back to the reality of having a ‘far off’ neighbour. Be that as it may, the India-Myanmar bilateral relations at the governmental level have expanded over the years and there has been deepening of mutual trust between political and defence establishments of the two countries.

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