It says violence will not solve the prevailing situation

India on Friday said it stood for revival of democracy in Myanmar and argued that violence would not solve the prevailing situation in the country.

“We condemn any use of violence. We believe that the rule of law should prevail. We stand for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar. We have urged the release of political prisoners and supported any attempts at resolving the current situation, including through the efforts of ASEAN,” said Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

India’s statement was prompted by reports of large-scale civilian casualties in the ongoing military crackdown against the anti-junta protesters who are demanding restoration of democracy in Myanmar. Latest reports suggest that over 500 people, including many children, have been killed in the military-led operations across the country that have targeted pro-democracy protesters.

Communication Links

India was among the first countries to express concern after the February 1 military takeover which deposed the democratically elected leadership of Myanmar. However, India’s subsequent behaviour indicated that it preferred to maintain communication links with the military junta. On March 27, an Indian official attended the Myanmar Armed Forces Day parade at capital Naypyitaw even as the day turned out to be the bloodiest with the military killing around 100 protesters. Subsequently, on April 1, Myanmar participated in a foreign ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC, Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, which was chaired by Sri Lanka and attended by India along with other members like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand.

Mr. Bagchi, however, argued that India maintains routine diplomatic activities through its mission in Myanmar. “We have a functioning embassy in Myanmar. Our Ambassador, Defence Attaché, and other diplomatic officers continue to discharge their regular diplomatic responsibilities. Nothing more should be read into this event which was attended by our Defence Attaché,” said Mr. Bagchi in response to a question which indicated that India’s diplomatic behaviour was at variance with its stated position. The situation in Myanmar has escalated rapidly as violent methods adopted by the military have already begun to displace a large number of citizens who are seeking shelter in India and Thailand among other neighbours of the country.

‘Humanitarian Considerations’

Mr. Bagchi further said India was treating the flow of displaced people from Myanmar as per Indian laws and “humanitarian considerations.” India is watching the internal situation in Myanmar as reports indicate that an armed resistance movement is emerging as the military continues with repressive measures. It is understood that New Delhi is also concerned about the possible emergence of various armed groups in Myanmar as it may trigger security implications for the north-eastern States.