In this context, Myanmar-India interactions could have been more active. By itself, India cannot match Chinese resources, gains and advances in Myanmar, but in conjunction with US, Japan and ASEAN, it is in a position to contribute more for enhancing the relationship and empowering Myanmar. The Indian authorities are justifiably anxious about border security issues and interested in trade expansion, but the canvas of conversation needs to be expanded.
The triangle’s third arm, China-India relations, has been marked by some tensions due to divergences on several important issues, particularly in the aftermath of discussions regarding India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The grouping’s session in Seoul was a setback, but not a disaster. The forthcoming BRICS Summit in Goa presents an opportunity for the two sides to change course and improve the bilateral equation.
On the US-China geopolitical rivalry, also known as “the Great Game in the East”, which has been unfolding in recent years, the Suu Kyi government can be expected to be sufficiently “non-aligned.” It would not take sides nor would it offend either party. On this larger question as well as on ties with China and with India, it will promote an equilibrium that suits its own interests.
In the 1950s Prime Minster U Nu used to say that Burma was “hemmed in like a tender gourd among the cacti.” Well, this gourd has a mind of its own and seems to know where it is heading.