India is strangely silent about Myanmar’s coup even as the repressive Myanamese Army continue its killing of innocent civilians.

The ‘silence’ is more surprising because India has always been known as the ‘torch bearer of democracy’ across the globe.

It was shameful as India was among only eight countries which sent a representative to attend the Myanmar Armed Forces Day military parade on March 27 in Naypyitaw, the day 114 innocent civilians were killed.

According to reports, India’s military attaché in Myanmar attended the parade of the autocratic army. The date marks the 76th anniversary of the Burmese National Army’s resistance against the occupying Japanese during the Second World War.

While India has embarked on ‘vaccine diplomacy’ to earn laurels amid COVID19 pandemic across the globe, New Delhi’s strange approach on Myanmar has taken social media by a storm.

People have now started to question as to why New Delhi allowed the Indian military attaché to shake hands with the autocratic Myanmar generals whose hands are soaked with blood.

Also read: Myanmar: Innocent people lose lives in hundreds, scores of funerals held across Country! But, world leaders only ‘condemn’

On February 1, the Myanmar military declared a state of emergency and arrested all elected lawmakers, including State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, on the grounds that there was electoral malpractice in the November general elections. The National League for Democracy had registered a landslide victory in the polls, and the military-backed USDP was marginalised.

Strangely, India has adopted a cautious approach in reacting to the military coup in Myanmar. While expressing its support for the democratic transition, New Delhi, unlike the US, has deliberately avoided criticizing the military coup.

Also read: Myanmar military fighter jets bomb village, civilians killed

So far, India has not issued any statement condemning the killing of civilians by Myanmar’s military. And at the UN, India reiterated its position on the restoration of the elected government in Myanmar.

While helpless and persecuted people, including policemen, are fleeing Myanmar, and have reached Mizoram for shelter, it is surprising that New Delhi has decided to seal the border.

Also read: Manipur: Three Myanmar nationals injured during military crackdown admitted to Imphal hospitals

The Ministry of Home Affairs has instructed the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram to check illegal influx from Myanmar into India. But, organizations in Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur have expressed solidarity with Myanmar’s protestors.

Never in the past New Delhi shut its doors to persecuted people in the neighbouring countries. Even the Dalai Lama and a huge number of persecuted Tibetans were allowed to stay in India for such a long time.

Though the Myanmar military rulers have asked India to repatriate the policemen back, people of Mizoram, including chief minister Zoramthanga, have allowed them to stay in the state.

Also read: Over 100 protestors shot dead by Myanmar armed forces on ‘day of shame’, UN ‘horrified’

MHA’s order to identify migrants from Myanmar and deport them has triggered mass protests in the region. On March 18, Zoramthanga wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and said his government cannot just remain indifferent to the sufferings of the Myanmar nationals.

Zoramthanga also held a virtual meeting with Myanmar Foreign Minister-in-exile Zin Mar Aung of the National League for Democracy.

Also read: Ex-CM Lal Thanhawla blames Myanmar military, says MHA order not acceptable to Mizoram

Deporting the police officials and civilians to Myanmar will make the generals of Myanmar happy. But, it would totally shatter India’s claims to being a democracy.

Is India’s strange silence on the military coup is because New Delhi has been getting support of Tatmadaw to root out the insurgent outfits of Northeast India? Yes, it is true that a large number of anti-India insurgent outfits run more than half-a-dozen camps in Upper Myanmar. But, it cannot be the only reason for New Delhi’s ‘silence’.

Or, India’s silence is because of China’s growing presence in Myanmar? Some academicians have argued that keeping China at a bay in Myanmar is crucial for India’s security.

On the other hand, China is many steps ahead of India when it comes to diplomacy in Myanmar. It has already expressed its desire to mediate between Myanmar’s military junta and political parties.

Mediation in Myanmar was something that India should have offered. India’s relationship with the political parties of Myanmar, and the equally ‘friendly’ association with Tatmadaw should have made India the best candidate to mediate peace in the troubled neighbour.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has stated that the crackdown in Myanmar, which has led to killing of innocent civilians, was unacceptable. Similarly, the UN Human Rights Council also adopted a resolution by consensus on Myanmar and condemned in the strongest terms the military takeover.

Anirban Roy

Anirban Roy is Editor-in-Chief of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: editor@nenow.in