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Mizzima: Burma's recent relations w

Burma's recent relations with India and Pakistan

Mizzima News Group
August 15, 2000

The visit of Indian army chief to Burma in first week of July was part
of an excise by India to mend fences with the military junta in Burma.
During the visit, Indian army chief General Ved Prakash Malik met
Burma?s head of state and SPDC chairman, General Than Shwe and
reportedly discussed a number of issues including on border management
and counter insurgency measures.

In January last, General V.P Malik visited Mandalay and that was
reciprocated by a trip to India by General Maung Aye, the second ranked
leader of SPDC on January. The two delegates met at Shillong, the
headquarters of the eastern command of the Indian Air Force and
discussed enhanced cooperation between the two countries. Apart from
coordination along the 1,643 kilometer-long India-Burma border, the two
sides agreed to promote bilateral trade.

This was General Malik?s second visit to Burma in six moths and
apparently had aimed to finalize the plans, which were discussed and
agreed at the Shillong meeting. However, army and foreign ministry
officials in New Delhi were tightlipped on the result of the visit.
Definitely, however, General Malik would have sought more assistance
from the Burmese junta to flush out Indian insurgents from Burmese

What an embarrassment for the Indian army chief was that while he was on
official visit in Burma, the country?s influential intelligence chief
Lt. General Khin Nyunt was out in Pakistan, an arch rival of India,
establishing closer ties between Burma and Pakistan. ?I am sure Khin
Nyunt being in Pakistan with strong delegation of 20 people is
definitely a matter of concern here. People are watching carefully and
want to know what is going to happen during these deliberations,
especially as I said earlier because relationship is military oriented
that definitely means that India must keep its eyes and ears clearly
open..?, said Dr. Swaran Singh, a research fellow at Delhi-based
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Some observers view that China is actually behind the close ties between
Burma and Pakistan as a part of its policy of containing India from
outside. And for Burma, it seems that the generals are trying to play
well-calculated "diplomacy" card between its two big neighbors China and