Suyash Desai quoted in the Force Magazine on Gateway to the East: Myanmar is strategically important and India should get a strong foothold in the country

Suyash was quoted in a feature article by Smruti Deshpande in the Force Magazine in September 2020 issue. The article summarises Myanmar’s strategic importance to India and ways in which India could get a strong foothold in the country.

Quote

Suyash Desai, China Studies Programme, The Takshashila Institution, says, “Myanmar occupies a vital role in China’s Grand Strategy conception under Chairman Xi Jinping. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) under China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC)—aims to connect the Indian Ocean oil trade to China’s Yunnan Province. This gives them another opening in the IOR besides Pakistan and allows them to circumvent the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait, which during escalation could be vulnerable. It has managed to achieve this by knitting together a series of strategic ports, railways and pipeline projects across Myanmar providing better access to the sea. Myanmar is also a resource-rich state with an abundance of tropical timber, rich rice lands, oil and gas, and precious gems (sapphires, rubies, jade). Thus it acts as an essential trade destination and investment asset for the PRC.”

He adds that it has a relatively large and prosperous ethnic Chinese population in the country because of two centuries of migration. Finally, it also could be used by China to keep India in check by keeping separatist shenanigans alive in India’s Northeast.