Why India must review its Myanmar policy

In part due to the political economy of British colonial rule and in part due to ethnic Bamar nationalism, Myanmar (earlier Burma) has always nursed an antipathy for Indian people and for the Indian state. It is an old sentiment with its roots in the late nineteenth century, following the arrival of Indian moneylenders, middle-class professionals, and labourers into colonial Burma. The antipathy was there when the British left in 1947–48, and was reflected in the citizenship regulations of the post-colonial state.

Then, in 1962 General Ne Win came to power and sent hundreds of thousands of ethnic Indians packing with a mere 175 kyats per head in compensation. Women were not even allowed to keep their mangalsutras. This exodus followed the ones in 1930, a particularly horrific one in 1942, and after the British left in 1948. The contemporary expulsion of the Rohingyas is merely the latest in the series.

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