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17 April, 2021 06:24:40 PM
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Russia, China and India in a race of establishing power in Myanmar

The survival of Myanmar's junta depends largely on China's will. Again, any kind of chaos on the borders of its own country is not pleasant for China. For this reason, the Chinese government and the military junta government of Myanmar want to maintain good relations with each other keeping in mind the issues of mutual interest.
Md. Tareq Hasan
Russia, China and India in a race of establishing power in Myanmar

Massive protests are taking place across the country against the military coup in Myanmar. The army is also trying to quell the protests. In this situation, on March 27, the army celebrated their Armed Forces Day. The event was attended by representatives of 6 countries including Russia, China, India and Pakistan. Russia's strong presence in the region's geopolitics is a clear indication of Russia's presence at the Armed Forces Day celebrations as the world condemns Myanmar's military repression and killings.

Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Kryvruchuk's vocal presence at Myanmar's armed forces ceremony has weakened the position of India, Myanmar's big neighbour and a regional ally of the West. On the other hand, the position of China, another big country in the region, has become much stronger. As the United States and its allies rise and fall to undermine China's influence, China and Russia have joined forces against the Western world.

Russia, along with China, is making every effort to downplay the role and influence of the United States and its European allies in the Middle East, as well as in Asia. Russia has sided with the United States and its European allies in imposing sanctions and severing trade ties.

Russia's strong presence in Myanmar could change the region's geopolitics, analysts say. At the same time, Russia's other objective is to sell arms to Myanmar. All in all, Russia will start exercising its power in this region like the Middle East in the coming days and will become a big player. Myanmar's military coup has given Russia that opportunity.

Despite being a democratic country, India was present at the Myanmar Armed Forces Day celebrations for its own sake, because India has a lot of investment in various projects in Myanmar. India also wants to maintain good relations with Myanmar's military to keep its eastern border safe and secure. However, despite China's presence at Myanmar's Armed Forces Day celebrations, there have been some tensions over China's relations with the country's military. China tried to build closer ties with the pro-democracy government of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party, but Suu Kyi is now in prison.

China has strategic investments in Myanmar. The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, a project initiated by Beijing to establish road links from China to the Bay of Bengal, will fall into uncertainty, albeit to some extent, during the current junta government. Even then, the two sides want to maintain a kind of relationship with each other, which is why China's presence in Myanmar's armed forces has been seen.

The survival of Myanmar's junta depends largely on China's will. Again, any kind of chaos on the borders of its own country is not pleasant for China. For this reason, the Chinese government and the military junta government of Myanmar want to maintain good relations with each other keeping in mind the issues of mutual interest. That's why on Beijing Armed Forces Day, the junta sent delegates to show support for General Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the government.

Attempts by ASEAN countries to take a united stand on the situation in Myanmar have not been successful. Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore backed Myanmar's military coup attempt in Indonesia but Thailand and Vietnam have taken a stand against the military coup, saying it is an internal matter of Myanmar. Such divisions in the regional organization have changed the way the United States reckons with Myanmar. The Biden administration, which has come to power, is trying to unite the ASEAN countries against China but Myanmar's military coup has thwarted US efforts.

The United States is trying to build a strong anti-China alliance with India, Japan and South Korea in this part of Asia. In mid-March, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Japan and South Korea. Anthony Blinken ended his visit with a meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister in Alaska, USA. During the meeting, heated exchanges took place between the two sides. On the other hand, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited India. At a meeting of Sino-US foreign ministers in Alaska, the two countries failed to issue a joint statement on the military coup in Myanmar.

The United States and Europe have been trying to formulate policies and strategies with Asia at the forefront of their foreign policy but Europe is not very vocal about the military coup in Myanmar. Germany, the Netherlands and the European Union plan to issue a policy statement on the Asia-Pacific region. Through this, the issue of new reality as the centre of economy in the world is coming up. The United States wants to add a strategy to keep China in check.

The military coup in Myanmar is a testament to the powerlessness of Western powers. The threat of Western sanctions has not stopped Myanmar's military junta from ruthlessly cracking down on protests. The UN Security Council is also unable to do anything about Myanmar because Russia and China will not allow the Security Council to take any punitive action against Myanmar.

On the other hand, no country is currently interested in recognizing Myanmar's expatriate or exiled government because it will make Myanmar more close to China. The Myanmar crisis has highlighted the limitations of the West in Asian geopolitics. On the other hand, the influence of China and Russia in the Eurasian territory is increasing day by day.

Meanwhile, Adani Group, an India-based multinational corporation, has been financing the military coup in Myanmar, according to an ABC News report. The report is based on a number of leaked documents to the media. They obtained the documents from a report by human rights activists and lawyers. The Australian Center for International Justice and Justice for Myanmar, two human rights groups, said in a joint report. In the report, they said the Adani group was cooperating with Myanmar's military government to build a container port in Yangon.

Adani Port's chief executive has met with Myanmar's top army chief, General Min Aung Hlaing. The army chief is accused of involvement in crimes such as extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses. Gautam Adani, the chairman of Adani group, met with him in 2019, shortly after the United States imposed a travel ban on him.

The Adani group has said it is not involved with Myanmar's military leadership. They have provided a complementary US 30 million to the Myanmar Economic Corporation for land leasing alone. The United States has also recently imposed sanctions on the Myanmar Economic Corporation. It is an institution controlled by the military. The two human rights groups said in their report that the Myanmar Economic Corporation had been paid 22 million in land clearance fees through which the Adani Group became the owner of land in the seaport of Yangon.

At the heart of the human rights group's report is the fact that an organization like the Myanmar Economic Corporation provides direct funding to the country's military. The matter was also revealed in the investigation of the UN observer team in 2019. The Adani Group does not want to sever ties with the Myanmar Economic Corporation, although the Adani Group has been warned many times. Now there is evidence that the Adani group is indirectly funding Myanmar's military so that they can stage a military coup.

Myanmar's state report also found that Karan Adani and General Min Aung Hlaing were exchanging gifts at the Adani port in Gujarat. The information has also been seen on the official YouTube channel of the Myanmar military. A spokesman for the Adani Group said no one else was involved in the Yangon International Terminal project in Myanmar.

The report found that the Adani Group paid 141 million directly to the military for their Myanmar port project and 148 million to acquire ownership of the port. This has largely increased the financial capabilities of Myanmar's military. The Adani group is very close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the BJP. India's closeness to Myanmar's military has angered Western nations. It remains to be seen which direction Myanmar's internal political affairs will take.

The writer is a student of Rajshahi University. [email protected]

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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