Difficult tightrope walk in Myanmar for India

Sudha Ramachandran
Contd from prev issue
However, a week later, under instructions from the Central Government, it “revoked” the SoP with “immediate effect.”
New Delhi’s order to Governments in the North East to identify migrants from Myanmar and deport them has triggered mass protests in the region. The surge of mass support to Myanmar Nationals fleeing the junta has prompted the Mizoram Government to speak up against the Central Government’s orders.
On March 18, Mizoram’s Chief Minister Zoramthanga wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Mizoram cannot just remain indifferent to their [Myanmar Nationals] sufferings today,” he said stressing that “India cannot turn a blind eye to this humanitarian crisis unfolding right in front of us in our own backyard.”
Zoramthanga has also held a virtual meeting with Myanmar Foreign Minister-in-exile Zin Mar Aung of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a landslide victory at National elections held in November. U.S.-based Mizo leaders are said to have participated in the meeting.
India “cannot ignore the mood in the North East,” Laina said, drawing attention to “rumbles of discontent” in the region. The possibility of “anti-India feelings” in the North Eastern States could grow in the coming weeks and months, he said.
Since independence in 1947, India has been faced with dozens of powerful separatist and pro-independence insurgencies in its rugged North East provinces. It is only after decades of difficult counterinsurgency operations, tortuous talks, and development initiatives that India has been able to quell the unrest somewhat.
Underlying several of these insurgencies are distinct identities and importantly, strong feelings of alienation from “mainstream” India. The people from the North Eastern States feel that the Indian State and even most Indians have little understanding or empathy for their situation and suffering.
Such feelings are now bound to surge with the Indian Government prioritizing its strategic concerns over the suffering and sentiments of the North Eastern people.
There are growing calls for India to show more emphatic support to the democracy in Myanmar. “India needs to articulate its stand supporting the restoration of the elected NLD Government more clearly,” Sundararaman said. To be contd