Really, We’d Like to Be Good

2 Oct

Joshua Kurlantzick adds three reasons India considers the Burmese junta’s suppression of anti-government riots an ““: China; natural gas; and, security problems in its own southeast. Far from supporting the protesters as it did in 1988, India is signing production-sharing contracts with the Burmese government and building roads and pipelines between Myanmar and India. 

At the same time, as India’s economy booms and it watches China gobble up oil and gas deals around the globe, Indian leaders covet Burma’s petroleum riches, which will become even more internationally important as mature fields in the Middle East decline. (Burma may have as much as 300 billion cubic meters of gas, and India itself has few domestic sources of petroleum.) India is building a network of road links to Burma, and trying to get Burma to agree to a pipeline to northeastern India. Showing its interest, in 2004 India hosted thuggish junta chief Than Shwe for a lavish state visit to India, the first by any Burmese leader in 12 years. “India and not China should be getting this gas. It is vital for the economy of eastern India,” Nazib Arif, the former secretary of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, said.


Yet some Indian opinion leaders are beginning to question this unthinking support. Unlike an authoritarian state like China, India will never be able to provide the same level of blanket assistance for Burma, without criticism back in Delhi, at the United Nations, and from India’s new partner, the United States, which worries about Delhi’s relationship with rogues like Burma and Iran. Perhaps recognizing this, the Burmese generals still have favored Chinese oil and gas companies over their Indian competitors, inking larger deals with China.

How many other nefarious (and desperate) regimes are left to grant Myanmar diplomatic cover? Meanwhile, monks are disappearing.


One Response to “Really, We’d Like to Be Good”

  1. Free Burma! 2 October 2007 at 11:22 pm #

    Free Burma!
    International Bloggers’ Day for Burma on the 4th of October

    International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.

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