Myanmar should utilize its geopolitical importance: Positive ties with China, India, and Japan
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The nation of Myanmar is far from isolated despite the efforts of many Western and Islamic media outlets. Equally, Myanmar doesn’t need any moral lambasting from nations that sell military arms to Saudi Arabia despite the utter barbarity of what is happening in Yemen. Hence, Western nations are not only ignoring the plight of 12 million people suffering from severe shortages of food in Yemen based on the brutal deeds of the Saudi Arabia-led Sunni Muslim alliance; the same Western nations have no qualms in selling vast amounts of military arms to Saudi Arabia. Therefore, leading Western powers and Islamic nations should put their respective houses in order, rather than continuously lambasting Myanmar.
Ironically, the negative narrative being used against Myanmar seems to be creating greater awareness to enhance relations with regional nations, two Permanent Members of the United Nations, and nations further afield in Northeast Asia. The outcome being that Myanmar is improving relations with China, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and others. At the same time, business investments from other nations including Singapore and Taiwan highlight the fact that this nation can’t be isolated based on foreign intrigues.
In terms of geopolitics the powers of China, India, and Japan respectively understand the significance of Myanmar. At the same time, the Russian Federation understands the bigger geopolitical picture and along with China, these two Permanent Members of the United Nations are valuable friends of Myanmar.
However, for Myanmar, this nation doesn’t need to focus on any single nation or one collective angle. Instead, China, India, and Japan – and others – seek positive ties with Myanmar based on various factors. Hence, Myanmar should utilize each nation for the unique traits that exist. For example, China is important for economic investments and is a Permanent Member of the United Nations. Likewise, Japan is a democratic and economic power that can boost the infrastructural development of Myanmar, can mediate with leading Western powers in the northern hemisphere, provide technological advancements, boost economic investments, and other important areas.
In relation to India, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, stipulates, “New Delhi views the nation as a key part of its ‘Act East’ policy, which was announced by Modi during the 12th ASEAN–India Summit in Myanmar in 2014. India believes it can use Myanmar to strengthen trade links and increase engagement with the regional grouping – but sees Myanmar as a neighbor first, and an ASEAN member second.”
Hence, for India, the nation of Myanmar is important based on regional factors, the geopolitical angle in relation to China, national security issues, and is a key nation in India’s “Act East” initiative. Equally, Myanmar is a natural bridge to ASEAN based on geography. Also, in recent times India and Japan are increasingly looking at enhancing important areas related to geopolitics, the military, and economics.
Recently, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan in Tokyo. Prior to this important meeting, Modern Tokyo Times stipulated, “Japan values positive relations with Myanmar based on recent history and because of the progress made by this nation in recent times in the realm of democracy. Of course, the geopolitical angle of Myanmar is richly important and the binding ties of Buddhism mean that both nations have natural bonds. Therefore, Aung San Suu Kyi knows that her reception is keenly awaited in the corridors of power in Japan.”
Overall, Myanmar doesn’t need to fall into any one single orbit because China, India, and Japan have various strengths. Similarly, the Russian Federation is a good bridge between China and India – and political elites in Moscow seek to further ties with Japan. At the same time, the Russian Federation is a Permanent Member of the United Nations and recent military sales highlight new ventures in the pipeline. Therefore, Myanmar is of geopolitical importance and the same applies to the entire development of the Mekong Delta region – this factor, and many others equates to Myanmar being able to cherry pick the best angle of China, India, and Japan in order to strengthen many areas of the nation.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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