India aligns with Eurasian states on coping with Myanmar violence

Sandeep Dikshit

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, April 2

India has aligned its position with those of Eurasian states at the UN Security Council (UNSC) in order to avert the possibility of sanctions on Myanmar that could hurt its ongoing projects.  

The Indian divergence from the positions taken by Western states at UNSC —  the US, the UK, Estonia and France —  is over the issue of imposing sanctions. India feels they will hurt the masses more than the military junta.

Despite a bloody crackdown that has killed hundreds of civilians in Myanmar, India has avoided mentioning the word sanctions in its statements. Its position has been strengthened by the stand taken by Vietnam, which has taken over the Presidency of UNSC for the month of April.

Vietnam’s UN Permanent Representative Dang Dinh Quy said if the UNSC were to impose sanctions, Vietnam will comply “as long as it does not exert a negative impact on the lives of people and the humanitarian situation of the country concerned.’’

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla made similar observations a fortnight back. “Don’t adopt tactics that seem reasonable if you are far away. Global sanctions will impact food security which will lead to inflation in Myanmar,’’ he had said.

With two veto yielding UNSC members—Russia and China—also ranged against sanctioning Myanmar, India will be able to preserve its interests that include a port being built by the Adani Group, a first-ever link to the North-East from the Bay of Bengal via Myanmar territory and transfers of military equipment.

At the media briefing on Friday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi reiterated the observations made by the Vietnam diplomat including the centrality of ASEAN. India, he said, supported any attempts at resolving the current situation, including through the efforts of ASEAN, and remained engaged with other countries and the UNSC in order to “play a balanced and constructive role’’.

A day earlier, other regional countries also disagreed with the western pressure to impose sanctions. A minister-level meeting of BIMSTEC (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand) turned down US-led efforts to isolate Myanmar and stressed on engagement.

As compared to India, Vietnam has been more critical of Myanmar. While calling Myanmar a member of the ASEAN family, Vietnam, nevertheless, condemned the killing of over 100 civilian protesters on March 27. At the same time, it has joined hands with Eurasian states–Russia, China and India—at the UNSC to ensure their interests in Myanmar are not affected by sanctions imposed by ‘far off’ countries.

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