Main Examination: General Studies 2

(International Relations)

Reference :

  • In recent times, the growing economic ties between China and Myanmar are becoming increasingly challenging to India's strategic interests.
  • India has helped Myanmar in road projects for the last few years for the economic development of the North Eastern states and to meet its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region. But now the attitude of Myanmar's military government is not visible in favor of protecting India's interests. Myanmar's increasing defense cooperation with China along with economic cooperation is going to increase India's strategic challenge.
  • Unusual military activities in Myanmar's Coco Islands have raised the possibility of a clash of interests with China and the Indian Navy.

Projects under construction by China:

  • Currently, China is investing in ports in India's neighboring countries Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan and Myanmar.
  • China has focused on controlling maritime energy routes in the Indian Ocean region and developing ports in South Asian countries.
  • The Chinese Navy is training navies of other countries at sea bases where the Chinese Navy has recently built bases.
  • China is under construction One Belt Road project with the aim of connecting countries in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Gulf countries, Africa and Europe by road and sea.
  • This project is very important for China and Myanmar from the geographical, economic and strategic point of view.
  • Under economic cooperation from 2019 to 2030, the governments of China and Myanmar countries have agreed to build several projects in areas such as infrastructure, production, agriculture, transport, finance, human resource development, research, technology and telecommunications. Under this, about 1700 kilometer long corridor is to be built to connect the two main economic centers of Myanmar with Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan province.

Strategic Interests of India from the Geographical location of Myanmar:

  • Myanmar is geographically situated between South Asia and South East Asia. It is located in Yunnan Province of China surrounded by land and the Indian Ocean.
  • The Coco Islands of Myanmar are a group of small islands located in the Bay of Bengal. India's strategic, economic, strategic and wider political interests are linked to the security of the islands and in this the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are considered very special.
  • The natural harbors of Andaman are considered favorable for ships and submarines. The importance of Andaman and Nicobar's strategic location was first demonstrated during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, when the Indian Navy used it to destroy ships and naval bases in the then East Pakistan.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the common bases of the three Services of India under a unified command.
  • In the last few years, India has conducted several military exercises in Andaman and Nicobar. This year, the Andaman and Nicobar Command conducted a large-scale joint military exercise 'X Kavach' involving assets of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
  • The objective of the exercise was to fine tune joint combat capabilities and standard operating procedures and to enhance inter-operability and operational synergy between the armies.
  • In 2020, when military tensions between China and India were at its peak in the Galvan Valley, the Indian Navy conducted military exercises near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in association with a group of the US Navy. In this, a fleet of warships led by USS Nimitz practiced. It is one of the largest warships in the world. This warship is equipped with nuclear capability.

Impact on India's strategic Interests:

  • If India wants to increase economic and business cooperation with South Eastern countries, then its path goes only through Myanmar. But despite India's 'Look East' or 'Act East' policies, China's influence in Myanmar has increased continuously.
  • By showing dreams of economic benefits to underdeveloped and poor countries, China captures their resources and this also increases the strategic problem.
  • Indian Navy and Air Force bases in Myanmar have been further strengthened. Myanmar is well aware of India's security concerns, but even after this, its increasing activities in Cocoa Island are going to be apprehensive about maritime security for India.
  • It is believed that China is strengthening electronic espionage capabilities on Myanmar's Coco Island.
  • In the last few years, China has been providing other help to Myanmar's military power, including weapons, spy planes and maritime security. For almost two and a half decades, there is a large base of Chinese forces on the Irrawaddy river of Myanmar.
  • Myanmar has very strong relations with China due to Myanmar's isolation at the international level. An additional airstrip is being built by China on the southernmost tip of Myanmar's Great Coco Island, along with new facilities such as a 'hangar' for aircraft to stand.
  • China is building radar stations and high-rise buildings on Coco Island to make a big profit in the Indian Ocean. With the help of this, China will be able to monitor the communication going on from Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Apart from this, it will also be able to trace the trend of surveillance flights of the Indian Army and the deployment of the Navy.
  • The installation of high-end electronic spying equipment in Cocoa Island will pose challenges to India's three military bases on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • China wants a military government in Myanmar, so that it can fulfill its economic and strategic interests without any pressure.


  • Myanmar is the only ASEAN member country that shares maritime and land borders with India. The importance of Myanmar has increased due to India's 'Look East' policy.
  • Myanmar's instability is very challenging for India. There is a border of about sixteen hundred and forty kilometers between India and Myanmar, in which a large area of ​​the northeast comes. There are many tribal groups along this border who are separatists and they keep increasing the security crisis in the Northeast. Some of these groups also have the support of China.
  • The geographical location of Myanmar is important from the point of view of India's security. India is determined to build the Manipur-Myanmar-Thailand highway in accordance with its 'Look East' policy since 1992. There is a provision of free movement between the two countries in an area of sixteen kilometers, with the opening of border haats, the hope of booming trade-business has increased.
  • Not only this, the joint military operations of both the countries have been inflicting a severe blow on the China-Pak-Bangladesh supported terrorism of the Northeast. Be it the elimination of terrorists by the Indian Army in 1995 due to the 'Golden Bird Operation' or the success of killing terrorists by entering the border of Myanmar in 2015, this is an example of mutual cooperation between Myanmar and India.
  • The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project is being developed to connect India's Mizoram and Myanmar's Sittwe port.

Source- Jansatta


Mains Exam Question

Currently, China is influencing India's strategic interests through economic projects on Cocoa Island in Myanmar. Discuss