Women in Politics

Women in Politics

This article deals with ‘Women in Politics .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

Introduction

Women have a very low status in the political scenario in the country. The number of women in the Parliament has never crossed the 20% mark till now.

Women were  not considered fit for politics earlier. According to philosophers like Kant , women have inability to control emotions & thus, inability to be impartial & rational, requires their exclusion .

Following amendment bills have already been introduced

  • 73rd & 74th amendments to the constitution has provision of reservation of 1/3rd for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions .
  • 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill to provide  1/3rd reservation  for women in Lok Sabha .
  • 110th Constitutional Amendment Bill  to reserve 50% seats for women in Local Bodies .
  • Pam Rajput Committee recommended  50% reservation of seats for women at all political levels .

Data of Women Representation in Politics

  • (17th) Lok Sabha has 14.6% women representatives .
  • Rajya Sabha has 11% women representatives .
  • State Legislatures have just 9% women representatives (some states like Nagaland  have 0% women representation) .

Case Study of Bhakti Sharma

  • Bhakti Sharma , sarpanch of Barkhedi Abdulla village was just 25 years old when she left her job with attractive package and post-graduate degree in political science to become Sarpanch of her village.
  • She  gives up her two months’ salary to each family where a girl child is born in the village
  • In 2015, she was chosen as one of the 100 popular women in the country .

Women in Politics

Problems in Reservation approach

  • One-size-fits-all policies designed in New Delhi backfires in states like Nagaland  .It would perpetuate unequal status of women since their merit will always be questioned.
  • Right to choice of voters restricted . 
  • Sarpanch Pati Syndrome  : In many places the concept of sarpanch pati has emerged where the women is just the nominal sarpanch, whereas her husband is the real decision making authority.
  • Reservation do not lead to real empowerment as seats are contested by women from rich families, business and political families.

Watch this video to know more about the phenomenon of Sarpanch Pati

Points in favour of reservation

  • In states like M.P , Kerala , Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan etc. where the reservation has been extended to women in local municipal corporations and PRIs , positive impact on governance is visible where they are headed by women. Women representatives have contributed immensely in overcoming social taboos and constraints like removal of ghunghat , sitting at same height as men on chairs etc.
  • Though it begins at token equality that caused acute discomfort and even confrontation, women especially dalit has been able to push boundaries and create space in the decision making sphere across all sectors.
  • The acts made by women are more gender sensitive and are able to include female perspective in them.

Feminisation of Agriculture

Feminisation of Agriculture

This article deals with ‘Feminisation of Agriculture .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

Introduction

  • Feminisation of agriculture means the increasing visibility and participation of woman in agriculture .
  • Women constitute close to 35 % of all agricultural workers (NSSO 2011-12).
  • However , they are joining agriculture as agrarian proletariat /labour class (& not as owners) .

Feminisation of Agriculture

Reasons

  • Migration of Males  from rural areas to cities leaving behind  agricultural chores to women. This trend in the agriculture sector was most visible during 1999-2005 marked by declining agriculture growth rates which saw a distress migration of male members to relatively better paying jobs either in the urban informal economy or the agriculturally prosperous states .
  • Widowhood forces woman to till the land to feed family. 

Has this led to women empowerment ?

Yes, it has

It has increased participation of women in the workforce & helped them to

  1. Acquire financial independence 
  2. Imbibe decision making skills.

No , it hasn’t

  • Feminization of Agriculture is not an intended consequence but an unintended impact of distress migration .
  • Due to patriarchal nature of society, they are referred as flexible labours . Hence, they are joining the sector as an agrarian proletariat .
  • Although they are participating in the agriculture but they don’t have  land rights.
  • Because of rural sector schemes like MGNREGA,  men are migrating back  and women are  again confined to  domestic spheres (phenomenon known as ‘de-feminization of agriculture’) .

Issues

  • Lack of Property Rights : Given the social and religious set up in India, women do not generally enjoy equal property rights as their male counter parts .
  • Women also have poor access to credit, irrigation, inputs, technology and markets.
  • Agricultural implements are designed for men .

What steps can  government take in view of feminization of Agriculture ?

  • Gender responsive agricultural budgets and  policies are the need of the hour.
  • More property rights should be provided to women .
  • Machines like tractors should be specifically designed for women .
  • Women should be provided preferential membership in the rural cooperatives.
  • Formation of Agricultural SHG for women.
  • Providing creche facility to such women farmers  .

Steps taken by Government

  • 15 October is celebrated as ‘Women Farmers day‘ .
  • Atleast 30% budget allocation should be provided to women beneficiaries in all schemes & programs (including agriculture) .
  • Low duty and tax if land transfer is on women name in some states like Punjab.
  • Women Agricultural Self Help Groups (SHGs) are being promoted by the government.

Side Topic : Defeminisation of Agriculture

  • Due to schemes like MGNREGA, men who earlier migrated to other areas in search of jobs have started to come back. This has led to reverse process known as Defeminisation of Agriculture .

Concept : Feminization of work

It has three dimensions

  1. When more number of females are working
  2. When there is increased concentration of woman in certain jobs
  3. When men start participating in the work that was traditionally domain of women (Eg : cookery)

Low Female Labour Force Participation

Low Female Labour Force Participation

This article deals with ‘Low Female Labour Force Participation.’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

Introduction

  • LFPR of women is continuously decreasing . In 2017-18, LFPR among women was just 25%.
Low Female Labour Force Participation
  • Only in Meghalaya , women LFPR was above 50% .

Possible reasons  for low Woman LFPR

  • Social Causes
    • Patriarchal Mindset  : Patriarchal norms of Indian society and social constraints on freedom of women results in lower LFPR among women.
    • Nuclearisation of families :  childcare and household work restricts woman participation in work.
    • Caste factor :  in some upper castes, there is a stigma attached to women working outside the home .
  • Many sectors like Armed forces arent open for women .
  • Unpaid household work : Economists distinguish between production for self-consumption and production for the market. Only the latter is counted as ‘work’. Most of woman are working at home, but since it is unpaid, it is not counted in labour force participation.
  • Rising incompatibility of work : Due to structural change in Indian economy , skilled jobs in service and construction sector coming up but  women don’t have necessary skills for these jobs .
  • Higher Education :  As women are pursuing higher education, their entry in the job market is delayed (Feminization U-Hypothesis ( given below)).
  • An income effect of the husband’s higher earnings. Rise in the income of men has resulted in withdrawal of women from the labour market.
  • Violence against woman force woman to move out of labour force . Eg :
    • Violence against woman at workplace restricts their participation.
    • Mode of transportation is not safe for woman restricting their movement. 
  • Problems like looking after young child, lack of crèches facility at workplace  etc. force working mothers to quit job .

Feminization U-Hypothesis

With development,

  • Women’s labour force participation drops during the initial phase of industrialization .
  • But in long run, Labour Force Participation will increase once a certain level of development is reached.

Steps ahead

  • Bangladesh ModelPromote Apparel & Shoes Sector as these  two sectors are most women friendly . 
  • Open more sectors for woman : eg Defence Services etc. 
  • Skilling  woman so that they can fit in post LPG Reforms economy .
  • Promoting woman entrepreneurship : Via Standup India and many other schemes .
  • Maternity Benefits  : Government has already increased it to 26 weeks. Extend it to informal sector as well.
  • Self Help Group (SHG) promotion like Kudumbshree  to make women especially in rural areas to be self-employed.
  • Japan Model (Womenomics) :  It includes getting more women into  positions of leadership.
  • Reshaping societal attitudes and beliefs about women participation in the labour force.

Side Topic : Women in leadership roles in India

  • Women representation on company boards in India is also very low at mere 13.8% .
  • But this number is gradually increasing, which is a very positive sign. Many big corporates are headed by women, example Pepsi by Indra Nooyi, Axis Bank by Shikha Sharma, ICICI Bank by Chanda Kochhar (who just quit) etc.
  • In 2020 , Germany has made mandatory quota for minimum number of women working in senior management positions in the country’s listed firms.

Reasons for lack of women in leadership role

  • Glass ceiling Effect  : It restricts the promotion of women to the top most positions. This glass ceiling exists due to the persistence of patriarchy in the society, and also due to the fact that the present leadership consists of men who promote the interests of men only
  • Leaky Pipeline Effect : Tendency for the proportion of women to decline as management grade rises .

India-Maldives Relations

India-Maldives Relations

This article deals with ‘India-Maldives Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

Brief History

  • The archipelago of Maldives consists of 1192 islands of which roughly 200 islands are inhabited with an estimated population of 430,000.
  • Maldives was a British colony since mid-1880s . Maldives was important for Britishers in order to secure the trade routes with India (the crown jewel of British Empire). 
  • India – Maldives formal relations began with the declaration of Maldivian independence in 1965. India was the first country to recognise Maldives
  • The first state level visit was in 1974 when President Ahmed Zaki of Maldives made an official visit to India.
  • Later, India  saved the regime of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom under Operation Cactus  from Coup attempted by Pro-Eelam group in 1998 .

Key Players in Maldivian Politics

Key Players in Maldivian Politics

Mohammad Nasheed

  • He was elected democratically in 2008 .
  • India and Maldives had cordial relationship  during President Nasheed’s tenure. He made his maiden international trip to India in 2008 and India promised a $100 million loan to improve the tourism industry in Maldives. 
  • But subsequent coup d’état in 2012 led to his fall. In 2013, he lost to Abdullah Yameen in rigged election.

Abdullah Yameen

  • He came to power in rigged elections in 2013 .
  • He started his autocratic rule and declared emergency in Nov 2015 .
  • Later, he went close to China posing threat to Indian interests.
  • During President Yameen’s time in office, Male-New Delhi relations turned rather sour because he was pro-China.

Ibrahim Mohammad Solih

  • He was elected in 2018 as the new President after defeating Abdullah Yameen .
  • India’s engagement has significantly grown since President Solih came to power, particularly in development partnerships.
  • Narendra Modi had attended the swearing-in ceremony of President Solih .
  • India  announced $1.4 billion financial assistance to bail out its debt-trapped economy.
  • Backed by India, Maldives  became Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Member .
  • Solih visited India on his first overseas trip since assuming the presidency (Dec 2018) .

India-Maldives Cooperation

India-Maldives Relations

Strategic Importance

  • The strategic importance was realized for the first time during British rule. Maldives is located just 700 km from the strategic Lakshadweep island chain , 1200 km from the Indian mainland and around major trade routes of India . Hence, Maldives is very important for securing the trade routes of India.
  • India has various Military assets in Maldives for surveillance purposes in the Indian Ocean which makes Maldives part of our security grid . India and Maldives also cooperate to contain piracy in the region.
  • India has the ambition to be ‘Net-security provider’ in Indian Ocean region and this calls for close military and naval ties with Maldives .
  • Maldives stretches out as a huge expanse in waters and has a tremendously large exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but lacks the defence capacity to ensure surveillance over the marine zone.  Maritime security leadership by India for Maldives is crucial for its size.
  • Uncertainty in Maldives could prove a fertile breeding ground for extremism and religious fundamentalism, smuggling and drug trafficking. Islamic State (IS) and Lashkar-e-Taiba are also reported to  have established bases in Maldives.

Economic Relations

  • India and Maldives signed Comprehensive Trade Agreement in 1981. After that trade flourished  .
  • Bilateral trade between India and Maldives stands at US$ 289 million (2018) .
  • While the exports from Maldives to India are not of much significance , the imports from India to Maldives are quite substantial .
  • State Bank of India (SBI) is one of the major banks operating in Maldives .
  • Taj Hotels of Tata Group are important component of tourism industry of Maldives.
  • Indian tourists also account for close to 6% of tourists Maldives receives each year .

Multilateral Cooperation

  • It has supported India’s permanent membership candidature at UNSC and has also voted in favour of India for non-permanent seat for the year 2020-21.
  • India and Maldives are part of
    • SAARC
    • Indian Ocean Rim Association
    • Commonwealth (During Yameen’s time, they left Commonwealth but Solih rejoined it)
  • India and Maldives have always supported each other in multilateral platforms such as the UN, the Commonwealth, the NAM, and the SAARC.
  • Maldives is part of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) where Pakistan frequently raise voice on Kashmir Issue . Hence, Maldives is important ally which play part in safeguarding Indian interests in OIC .

People to People Relations

  • Maldivian students attend educational institutions in India .
  • Maldivian patients fly here for super-speciality healthcare.
  • India Cultural Centre (ICC) in Male was inaugurated in 2011, which conducts courses in yoga, classical music and dance.
  • Hindi commercial films, TV serials and music are immensely popular in Maldives.

Indian Diaspora

  • 22,000 Indians live in Maldives making it second largest expatriate community of Maldives.
  • 25% of the doctors and teachers in Maldives are Indians .

Other

  • Maldives support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded and reformed UN .
  • In 2015, India launched Operation Neer to help the Maldives by providing water aid after a major fire broke out at the Male Water and Sewerage Company.
  • 2019 : Passenger and Cargo services started between Kochi and Male (700 km) & Kulhudhuffushi (500 km) . It will increase tourism, health etc. and will be useful for Maldivians who travel to India for educational purpose but air travel is expensive.

Indian Initiatives for Maldives

  • India has announced $500 million assistance for the Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP) to connect Male to three neighbouring islands – Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifahu islands. GMCP would be the largest civilian infrastructure project in Maldives.
  • India provides the largest number of training opportunities for Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), meeting around 70% of their defence training requirements.
  • In 2020, India announced $400 million Line of Credit (LoC) comes in addition to a previous LoC of $800 million that was announced in 2018.
  • Major completed development assistance by India include Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Maldives Institute of Technical Education, Construction of National Police Academy etc.
  • Grants for projects under High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs): These include projects such as ambulances, Convention Centre, drug rehabilitation centre, police station upgradation, development of Addu Tourism zone etc. in Maldives .
  • Water-Aid : India has provided large-scale assistance to Maldives in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and during the 2014 Male water crisis under Operation Neer .
  • Mission Sagar :  India launched Mission Sagar to provide assistance to Indian Ocean Region Nations during Corona period. Under this INS Kesari was dispatched for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, to provide food items and COVID related medicines.

Issues in India-Maldives Relations

Chinese Presence

  • Maldives is part of China’s Maritime Silk Road (MSR) .
  • Maldives provide base to Chinese Navy in Indian Ocean which disturbed Balance of Power .
  • China and Maldives has signed a controversial Free Trade Agreement with China in 2017 (update : Maldives’ new government has decided to pull out of FTA with China, realizing the onesided nature of the FTA).
  • Maldives has earlier cancelled Infrastructure contracts given to Indian companies in favour of Chinese Companies (eg : GMR’s contract for building Male’s Airport).
  • Chinese Debt Trap : Chinese loans are 1/4th of Maldivian GDP which Maldivian economy can’t service on it’s own.

GMR Issue

  • In 2012, Maldives annulled the $500 million contract with GMR Group to develop a modern International Airport near Male, which was given to a Chinese company.

Growing Radicalization

  • Maldives has provided maximum number of terrorists per capita to ISIS.
  • Radical Wahabi and Salafi ideology is on rise in Maldives.

Uneasiness over Indian Military installations in Maldives

  • Earlier, Maldives had asked India to withdraw 2 Indian ALHs operating in Maldives.
  • Maldivian  refused to extend visas of 26 Indian navy personnels. 

Increased bonhomie with Pakistan during Abdullah Yameen’s (previous President) reign

  • During Pakistan’s Army Chief’s visit in 2018 , Maldives announced joint patrolling with Pak Navy to guard Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zone challenging the Indian position in the region.

Way Forward

  • Investment cooperation with Maldives should be enhanced .
  • ‘Free-Purse’ policy of aid to Maldives is needed if India wants to offset Chinese big-ticket investments in Maldives.
  • India must enhance anti-terrorism cooperation and intensify cooperation in the areas of training and capacity building of the Maldives National Defense Force  and the Maldives Police Service.
  • While dealing with smaller neighbours like Maldives, India needs to become a lot more magnanimous, staying true to its own “Gujral Doctrine.”
  • SAARC and IORA should be used to work on lingering concerns .

India-Myanmar Relations

India-Myanmar Relations

This article deals with ‘India-Myanmar Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Historical Bonds

  • In the ancient times, two Indian monks named Tapusa and Bhallika were responsible to promote Buddhism in the Myanmar region. Ashoka, during his reign, also sent missionaries to Myanmar or Burma.
  • Rulers of Myanmar , since the ancient times, have been majorly Kshatriyas and their origins can be traced back to   India .
  • Britishers exiled Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, to Yangon in Myanmar and the Konbaung King of Myanmar to Ratnagiri.
  • Yangon was once a centre for India’s independence struggle.
  • General Aung SanBurma’s independence hero, was a close friend of Netaji
  • In modern times, In 1951, India and Burma established diplomatic relations through a treaty of friendship.

Importance of Myanmar for India

Myanmar is very important for India because 

  • Myanmar is important part of India’s Act East Policy .
  • Myanmar can act as transit for North East .
  • It is the only Indian neighbour who is ASEAN Member (Hence, Myanmar can act as India’s Bridge to ASEAN) .

1 . Connectivity

Can be seen in following aspects

1. 1 . Bridge to ASEAN

Projects in which Myanmar is important include

  • IMT Highway : Highway connecting Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand  and passing through  India, Myanmar & Thailand .
  • BCIM Project : Bangladesh , China, India and Myanmar are part of this project.

1.2 . Important for connecting North East

  • Project  which are important in this regard includes Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project .

Side Topic : Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project

  • Kaladan Multimodal Project can act as  an alternate outlet for North East and an alternate route to connect to mainland India .
  • It will connect Kolkata (port) => Sittwe (port in Myanmar)  => Paletwa (river port on Kaladan river) => Mizoram (via road).
India-Myanmar Relations
  • The project will boost employment and will lower the food prices in the region but the intrusion into the region will create a threat to local heritage.

Side Topic : BCIM Corridor

BCIM Corridor will start from Kunming and end at Kolkata passing through Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar .

BCIM Corridor

Why China wants BCIM ?

Southwest China is landlocked & poor .China hopes, BCIM corridor will

  • Provide outlet to Yunan Province
  • Boost trade & tourism

Thereby, reducing the poverty and extremism in its south-west region .

Advantages of BCIM

  • Act East Policy and North East
    • BCIM project is in line with India’s Act East Policy .
    • Indian states of North East will come into mainstream. 
    • It can help in containing insurgency in North East by providing economic prosperity .
  • Exploiting each other’s trade complementarities i.e. China’s manufacturing, India’s Service sector, Bangladesh’s low cost manufacturing and Myanmar’s cheap labour and raw material.
  • BCIM project will help in creating Energy Corridor as
    • South West China (Yunan Province) , Bangladesh, Myanmar and Assam in India has petroleum resources .
    • This region has huge potential of Hydro Electric Energy .
  • It will lead to revival of Kolkata port .  Earlier, Kolkata’s importance was lost due to  its unnatural isolation from its natural eastern neighbourhood.
  • Huge Market as the region hosts nearly 50 crore people  & growing middle class with increasing per capita income  .
  • Tourism too will get a boost.

Problems

  • Ethnic insurgency :
    • Fighting between Myanmar Army and ethnic Kokang rebels  based near Chinese border .
    • United Wa State Army runs parallel government in North Eastern Myanmar .
    • Indian North Eastern states are itself insurgency hit .
  • China insisting to make it part of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and India is not part of  BRI  .
  • Due to this project, India’s trade deficit with China will increase further .
  • Region is also hit by the communal violence involving Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims .

Side Topic : IMT Highway

  • Connect Moreh in Manipur to Mandalay in Myanmar to Mae Sot in Thailand .
  • India and Thailand have constructed their part . Only Myanmar is lagging behind because of the political instability . 
IMT Highway

2. LNG / Energy

  • Myanmar has large reserves of natural gas .
  • Myanmar’s gas is attractive for India  because
    • Proximity : Easy to transport via pipelines .
    • Untapped : Indian Companies likes ONGC Videsh can buy stake .
    • It can usher prosperity in North Eastern states (same done by China wrt Yunan Province) .
  • ONGC has already invested $1.6 billion in Myanmar gas with 30% stake in Shwe gas fields.
  • Jubilant Energy and Reliance are also working in shallow water blocks in Myanmar.
  • Note : China is far ahead as  Chinese investments in  energy sector in Myanmar has been $ 8 billion .

3. Trade & Investment Opportunities

  • Myanmar’s economy is opening up . Hence, there are immense investment opportunities for Indian Companies .
  • India imports beans, pulses and forest products from Myanmar while it exports steel and pharmaceutical products.
  • Myanmar is also helpful in Make Outside India because of Free Trade Access to ASEAN Market
  • There are large untapped Natural Resources (oil, gas, teak, copper & gemstone)  
  • Myanmar is the second largest supplier of beans and pulses to India . 
  • There has been a huge presence of Indian companies in Myanmar. Tata Motors has established a truck assembly plant in Magway. Apart from that, GMR, TVS motors, Birla Corporation, ITC hotels , Shree cement and Bharti Airtel are the notable Indian companies in Myanmar .
  • State Bank of India has also acquired commercial license for banking purposes in Myanmar.
  • India is also trying to built a Buddhist circuit in association with Myanmar where India intends to  promote tourism and create job.

4 . Security

  • Insurgents in North East  especially Naga groups find havens in Myanmar where border is not fenced and free movement of people is permitted (due to 16 Km Free Movement Regime).
  • In 2015 , Indian troops reportedly crossed into Myanmar territory to target a NSCN (Khaplang) military camp .  India & Myanmar are now helping each other in containing insurgency by not allowing insurgents to take shelter  in each other’s territories.
  • Myanmar is a part of the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Thailand and Laos) and has become an important transit country for illegal drug trafficking. In 2010, India and Myanmar established Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on criminal matters which has emerged as the core legal instrument to address issues related to drug smuggling .
  • India has been an important arms supplier to Myanmar. India has supplied T-55 tanks, transport planes and naval crafts to Myanmar .
  • In 2006, both concluded an MoU on intelligence sharing and training of Myanmar military personnel.

Side Topic : Rohingya Issue

  • A large number of Muslims were taken by the Britishers from Bengal to Burma from 1823 onwards when the British occupied the Rakhine state of Myanmar. After the independence of Burma in 1948, these Muslims stayed back in Burma.  These are known as Rohingyas in Myanmar.
  • According to the 1982 Citizenship law of Myanmar, the Rohingyas were not recognized as an official ethnic group and since then have become stateless in Myanmar.
  • In 2011, ethnic violence broke against the Rohingyas under the influence of radical and rightist Buddhist monk known as Ashin Wirathu.  This led to the mass exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, India and Thailand . Those who remain are  ghettoized and persecuted .
Rohingya Issue
  • There are around 40,000 Rohingyas in India. The Indian government has decided to deport the Rohingya Muslims as
    • They have immigrated to India illegally.
    • These illegal immigrants, living majorly in Kashmir, are susceptible to recruitment by terrorist groups and thus constitute a security threat to India.
    • Influx of Rohingya Muslims to India also disturbs the demographic pattern and social, political and cultural stability of the society.

5. People to People Contacts

  • Buddhism reached Myanmar from India .
  • Both nations have great relations since centuries . Even during British colonialism, both Myanmar and India had almost free movement of people & goods .
  • Many Tribes in North East like Nagas have population on both sides of the border.

6. Multilateral Engagements

  • ASEAN: Myanmar is only ASEAN country which shares a land border with India.
  • BIMSTEC: Myanmar is a member of BIMSTEC .
  • India and Myanmar are part of Mekong Ganga Cooperation .
  • SAARC: Myanmar was given the status of observer in SAARC in August 2008.

Issue : China Factor

  • Myanmar is part of OBOR and China is building following in Myanmar
    • Kyaukpyu port
    • Pipelines and Rail connecting Kyaukpyu to Yunan
  • Myanmar is important to provide outlet to South Western Province (Yunan) .
  • Energy : China has invested $ 8 billion in Energy sector .
  • With Ethnic conflict going on in Myanmar & its porous borders with China, Myanmar requires Chinese assistance to cope with situation.

Advantages of India over China in Myanmar

  • India prefers to give ‘development & Human Capital Formation loans” while China indulges in ‘Debt Trap Diplomacy’ .
  • India can help Myanmar in building up strong democratic institutions.   
  • India is investing heavily in Myanmar  . Eg : Sittwe Port and Kaladan Multimodal Project .
  • Both are part of  Multilateral Forums like  BIMSTEC and Indian Ocean Rim Association  .
  • Cultural Ties : India is birthplace of Buddhism and most of Myanmar’s population follow this tradition . Eg:  ancient city of Bagan, has famous Hindu temples .

Constraints

Rohingya Problem Large number of these refugees have also fled to India.
Sittwe port and Kaladan Multimodal Project also passes through Rakhine Province .  
Chinese Factor China is investing in large projects in China as part of it’s ‘Debt Trap Diplomacy’ . Ports like Kyaukpyu are alleged to  part of String of Pearls strategy of China to contain India.  
Project Delays There is widespread discontent against India over continuing delay in completion of flagship projects — Kaladan and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway.  
Economic Development Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Asia. Infrastructure in Myanmar is almost non-existent  . Hence, Private Indian capitalists hesitate to invest .  
Military Control One-quarter of seats in both Houses of Parliament are reserved for the military. Hence, Military yields too much control in Myanmar .