Why India U-turn in the United Nations Security Council on Myanmar?

by kaarthik shankar
India myanmar

India did not participate in the voting of the resolution of the United Nations Security Council, in which there was a demand to stop the ongoing violence in Myanmar with immediate effect and to release Aung San Suu Kyi from the military government.

India is presiding over the Security Council of 15 countries which will be completed this month. The Council passed this resolution on Wednesday in which 12 countries voted in favour of the resolution and three countries – India, China and Russia – did not participate in it.

For the first time in the last 74 years, a resolution was presented in Myanmar. Earlier in 1948, when Myanmar i.e. the then Burma got independence from British rule, the Council presented a resolution in the General Assembly suggesting that Burma be made a member of the United Nations.

What is the logic of India?

Explaining this step of India in detail, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ruchira Kamboj said that India believes that the kind of complex situation in Myanmar needs to adopt a calm, patient diplomatic approach. He said that apart from this there is no other solution to the long deadlock going on there.

He said, “The UN system should help both parties to negotiate, it is necessary that the Council takes thoughtful steps. Calm and constructive diplomacy should be resorted to finding a constructive and lasting solution in Myanmar.”

India says that Myanmar’s instability can become a problem for neighbouring countries, so it is necessary that the council should seriously include their views.

Ruchira Kamboj said, “Keeping in mind all these concerns, our faith in the democratic process and the well-being of Myanmar, India is separating itself from this voting process.”

U-turn of India

Earlier, India opposed the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi on most occasions.

In December last year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually participated in the democracy conference organized by America.

Prime Minister Modi had said that ‘Aung San Suu Kyi’s jail sentence is disturbing. Law and the democratic process should be implemented in the country.

At that time Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years in prison.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in his statement, “We are troubled by the recent decision of the Government of Myanmar. As a neighbouring democracy, India has been consistently supporting the democratic transition in Myanmar.

We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld. Any development that undermines these processes and exacerbates differences is a matter of deep concern.”

What is the situation in Myanmar?

On February 1, 2021, Myanmar’s army arrested the country’s supreme leader Aung San Suu Kyi and carried out a coup in the country. In the elections held in the year 2020, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won the election with a huge majority, but Army General Min Aung Hlaing rejected this mandate and accused it of rigging and took Aung San Suu Kyi into custody.

On 20 February 2021, the demonstrations against the army in the country turned violent. When the security forces opened fire on two unarmed protesters and they died. After this lakhs of people came on the streets. As the demonstrations escalated, the army used heavy force on the protesters.

Now the demonstrations have reduced due to the oppressive attitude of the army. Many protesters have fled to remote parts of the country where they have taken refuge with ethnic rebel groups. Many have joined the People’s Defense Force which opposes the military government.

In April 2021, ethnic leaders and elected officials who somehow escaped the military coup formed a national unity government. Its leaders said they were waging a revolutionary war to oust the military from power and create a truly democratic system in the country.

opposition to a military government

These shadow government leaders operate from rebel-held parts of the country and many others are operating from abroad. According to the New York Times, in May 2021, it established the People’s Defense Force, which now has about 60,000 soldiers.

Since a crackdown on protesters in towns and cities since February last year, the army has targeted rebel-held areas.

The army raids houses to arrest opponents, detaining family members of the opposition.

By December 2022, Junta i.e. Myanmar’s army has arrested more than 143 journalists and closed independent news outlets.

According to the human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, more than 2,500 civilians have been killed by the military and 16,500 have been arrested since the coup. Of these, more than 13,000 are still in custody (as of December 2022).

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