Myanmar FriendsFriends of Myanmar
What friends of Myanmar? The Myanmar Times
Many years ago, when Myanmar was still in the early stages of global reconstruction, I took part in a dialog that brought together leading politicians, economists and academics from all over Asia. Called up in Yangon, she sought to begin new talks about Myanmar's fate just as the army unleashed its choke.
Myanmar's high-level officials, industry and the think tank seemed to enjoy the new room for such trans-national discussions. One day, Myanmar was asked the question: "Do you see India or China? It took a few reluctant proposals on this or that part of Myanmar history to be made.
One of Myanmar's most potent gamblers then addressed the game. On the basis of his experiences, he reasoned that the Myanmar tribe felt more connected to foreign democracy, especially English-speaking nations, than to China or India. A number of folks were disbelieving, puzzled and not prepared to embrace this idea.
Many from Myanmar side were nodding their head. This group was, of course, hardly ever truly representing Myanmar as a whole. Throughout all the years of the anti-British and anti-American bombs, Myanmar had only strengthened the opinion that it had a thing in common with the West. High-ranking soldiers retiring at the tables would not object.
It was suggested that few high-ranking personalities from Myanmar would speak Mandarin or any kind of Hindi as an example of the region's culture divide. I' ve been told that even the power brokers from Myanmar of recent lineage from China are often much better acquainted with English than Putonghua. In general, China's investment in foreign languages through the Confucius Institutes and similar programmes does not seem to have thrilled the Myanmar population.
Despite all the anti-colonial idiom, Myanmar's elites have long envisioned a long term vision of a new, close cooperation with the West. And is that a motive for abandoning the legacy of Myanmar's tyranny, despite the frustration at the timid transition? I' ve very little ever listened to Myanmar's fellow Members praising China's policy system.
Fears also exist that China's plagiarism on such policy issues may obscure Myanmar's intentions for the city. At the moment there are less everyday interactions when it comes to India. Anyway, I don't think we will see a run of Myanmar college kids enrolling for Hindi, Assamese or Bengali school.
This makes perfect business sense, because the shared postcolonial language provides entry to India and much more. When Myanmar has a free and equitable choice, it will have taken courageous measures with which most of its neighbors have fought. This kind of move by Myanmar's power brokers could help strengthen some other, long-standing bonds.
While India is still rising, we should look for a greater aptitude between its democracy and the Nay Pyi Taw leaders. It has not always been an ease of relations with Myanmar's Myanmar democracy, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who often feel treacherous by their Indian co-us. After spending some of her defining years at and around India's schools and colleges and parts of her adulthood in Bhutan, the National League for Democracy guide has a lifetime with the subcontinent.
Your own passion for India is a joker in what happens next. Is there any way to revive this relationship? On a flat-rooted territory, the right lead could make Myanmar and India a surprise team. Mr Farrelly is Principal of the Myanmar Research Centre at the Australian National University and a senior associate at Glenloch, an Asia-focused policy and business advisors.