Wednesday, March 4, 2009

12-10-2007 India's new Burma Strategy

This is my presentation when we had strategy meeting with BJP and RSS parties organized by India Project on 12-10-2007

India's new Burma Strategy

Changing situation
o The latest monk-led protest was the battle for survival: survival of the regime in power Vs survival of the people for life
o Not only frustration but also hatred that cannot be crushed with bullets
o The regime can not control the people as before and they are on their last days

Why India needs new strategy?
o As ground situation and world' view on Burma have changed the old policy needs to be modified
o Is current India 's Burma policy productive?
• Is Chinese influence over Burma scaled down?
• Is border trade good for foreign goods, arms and drugs?
• Can India acquire Gas?
• The NE groups got sheltered in Burma are products of look east policy. Media reports on northeast are misleading and assorted with fake encounters.
o If not today, democracy will prevail soon and then India will have to work harder for better ties with democratic Burma
o Dictatorial rule in any country is naturally closer to China and why is so to India when it comes to Burma

How to formulate the new strategy
o India must use not only intellect but also heart and also needs fresh thinkers
o New strategy may have to take risk
o May or may not be Black and White (Democracy Vs Military or Open Vs Covert efforts)

o China's move so far is faster and more effective than India 's
• Chinese ambassador was the first to come to NLD after 1990 results announced
• Chinese persuaded SPDC to receive UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari
• Chinese ambassador was at Rangoon airport when Gambari landed
o Yunan province has special interest in Burma and has been doing well. How about northeast though it has the same interest?
o China has a strong card in hand
• There is link between northeast groups and China indirectly if not directly
• UWSA is strong and backed by China and is source of drug and arms
• Armed groups with Chinese-blood are national threat for Burma
• Pansang arms factory is source for Manipuri groups
• Opium fields of Manipuri groups near border are protected by Burma army

o Mukerjee's first statement was too little and too late (13 days later than China 's)
• But it was right on two points: inclusiveness and national reconciliation
• The people just don't understand why India could not ask to stop violence
• Mother of Buddhism did not say anything officially when monks were killed
o Release of DASSK is strategically important
• The movement needs leadership to usher for transition
• Apart from DASSK (to mobilize public), U Tin Oo (to lead the army) and U Khun Tun Oo (to organize ethnic peoples) must be freed
o India's foreign policy on Burma seems military point of view prevails
• That is not good enough
• The engagement policy was commenced with military to military relation
o India needs partner(s)
• The bold option is to work with the US
• India may be more comfortable to work with ASEAN ( Singapore is chair of ASEAN, Indonesia is a member of UNSC) but ASEAN way takes a decade
o India must work actively with UN
• Work closely with UN Secretary General and Gambari (It is good that India becomes a member of Friends of Burma UN group and Gambari is coming next week)
• Receive NCGUB delegation before UNGA
• Sponsor Burma resolutions at UN
o India needs to design a strong card to drive the junta and to counter China
• Military aid to opposition group
• Financial assistance to the movement
• Relay station for Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), radio/TV from Oslo
• AIR can be effectively used
o Burma desk at MEA should be expended
o Credible Burmese opposition should be invited to Parliamentary and policy hearings
o India should invite Burmese economists who are not sent by the regime
o Indian ambassador in Rangoon
• Must establish regular communication with NLD
• Should meet new liaison minister Maj-Gen. Aung Kyi before China does
• Provide assistance to inside movement (students, monks)
• Provide assistance to the victims
o Like Bangkok process and Beijing meeting, India should create Delhi initiative
o Arms sales to regime must be stopped or halted
o Support arms embargo that China would not do
o India should be prepared to recognize an interim government

India needs to change the negative sentiment of the people
o Building libraries and book donation to Shantiniketan library and libraries of the monks
o Gandhians should play a role as all nonviolent education imported are from the West
o Medicine for AIDS, TB and Malaria
o Avoid cooperation with Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association (MMCWA)
o Indian official should try to avoid to be exploited by PR campaign of the junta
o Training for pro-democracy movement (parliamentary, democratic institution)
o NCGUB prime minister should be granted visa
o Host the exile MPs' Congress

Other points
o Reports to Delhi from inside Burma are one-sided
o Chinese energy meeting in Kuming invited Shwe Gas campaign
o Korean Daewoo will talk to Shwe gas campaign later
o Uranium from Burma
o Indian Parliamentary Caucus, SAARC Caucus
o There are many high ranking Indian officials and diplomats telling the same tone of Burmese generals because they are brain washed or paid by SPDC
o High profile persons and celebrities from India should come out
o Indian political parties, Indian students Unions, Indian Women groups, Indian film stars and Indian writers should do like Indian monks

The Game
o It is Talk and all efforts must be for that objective
o Failure of previous attempts are because of underestimation of Than Shwe
• Than Shwe was compelled to talk about Talk because of international consensus
• Than Shwe's pre-conditions are for public consumption and to add his weight
• The significance of the announcement on 4-10-07 was usage of full name of DASSK by state media
o Appointment of the liaison minister is a baby step
• Maj-Gen. Aung Kyi is the author of the "People's War Strategy" published by the Ministry of Defense which ridiculously claimed that US was preparing to invade Burma and that the aggression must be defended by people's war strategy. He was reported to have requested for the posting at the Labor Ministry to counter charges at the ILO
• At least ASSK has one more human being to be seen
• That minister has to meet her before Gambari comes again and Than Shwe has to tell something to UN
o This time SPDC can't do the same trick done in 2000 as now it is facilitated by UN
o To initiate Talk, there must be supporting and pressing efforts done continuously
o Threat by
• Sanctions
• Intervention
• Military exercise
• Bold proposals like interim government, Parliament of 1990 election
• Invitations and Awards to opposition figures
• Probe, International Criminal Court (ICC), International Court of Justice (ICJ)
o Strong persuasion by
• Official calls for the release of key leaders
• Visit of top politicians to Burma
• Direct and sideline meetings
• Publicly critical commentaries
o Pressure on selected countries
• 2008 Olympic
• Protests against soft-to-the-regime countries like China , India , Russia
• Mobilize public opinion
• Boycott foreign companies
o There must be warnings if Talk stalled or failed
o But carrot should not come prematurely
o UN must press for ICRC to have access to all detainees
o Indian and other Red Cross should seek access to prisoners
o Further actions must be known if more blood shed occurred
o Inside the country activities must continue

Dr. Tint Swe
Burmese MP (NLD)

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