Three senior U.S. officials visited Asia in July in a well-choreographed diplomatic outreach strategy by the Biden administration. The U.S is willing to prioritise the Indo-Pacific and counter China. Asia cannot afford to be a reticent bystander.
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Since the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, violence and protests have broken out across the country and are continuing. Supported by India and Japan, ASEAN has played a key role, by calling the emergency summit in Jakarta. It has bridged internal gaps and helped navigate the international community to a reconciliation of the crisis. India must continue support to such efforts, which aim for immediate and long-term peace.
The 17th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ministerial meeting was held on 1 April 2021. Though the grouping is ready to move forward, a number of obstacles stand in the way of this, including regional tensions, uncertainties surrounding SAARC and China's involvement in the multilateral. As BIMSTEC is to celebrate the silver jubilee of its formation next year, can it achieve its goal, to effect “a paradigm-shift in raising the level of cooperation and regional integration"?
In principle, India supports democracy everywhere, but is also committed to non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. But instability in Myanmar could trigger support for insurgency in India's North east, which is now on the path to progress. Accelerating the completion of India’s development cooperation projects in Myanmar will send a positive signal for regional stability.
On February 1, the Myanmar army seized power, turning a partial democracy into a full-fledged military rule, once again. Whenever democracy suffers, India feels concerned. However, New Delhi is committed to the policy of non-interference in another state’s internal affairs. It is also guided by its national interest and will astutely balance principles, values, interests, and geopolitical realities.
Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Myanmar on January 17 highlighted the economic aspect of the two countries’ bilateral relationship. China has been Myanmar’s top partner for years. But more than the 33 agreements signed, the visit threw light on the region’s changing geopolitics and Myanmar’s own compulsions in growing closer to China
Canada, which has been slow to respond to a changing trans-Pacific neighbourhood, can join India and the ASEAN member states to embark on a trilateral dialogue on the Indo-Pacific’s importance in terms of political, strategic and other domains. An alignment in outlook can strengthen the security and prosperity of a region, currently mired in U.S.-China rivalries
TIMES NOW featured our Distinguished Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia on their show to discuss the fourth BIMSTEC Summit. Watch the full episode here.
Aung San Suu Kyi anchors new democratic government, but tough challenges remain