While introspecting the developments since the declaration of results i.e., November 8 election held in Myanmar, it gives us a fair idea actually where we were heading for. The visit of Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of our Northern neighbour ahead of convening of New Parliament scheduled for February 01, 2021 had sent enough signals followed by intimidating statements of Tatmadaw officers. We must accept that, we fell short of sight to gauge the effect of calculated moves.
Northern neighbour is not bothered much who rules Myanmar but they are much concerned about those who can facilitate their investments and executions of BRI projects. During the NLD’s regime approximately 60 MOUs were signed in 2018-20 but majority of these projects could not pick up despite pressure. China is well aware of the facts that, during NLDs regime their influence was checked by the western powers. The CSOs were very active and raised many concerns over the BRI projects and implications of Chinese debt trap.
All of sudden compensations are announced for the residents of Leptadaung Copper Mine area in Sagaing in January 2021 and unsolicited proposals have been submitted by China based garment manufacturing company to establish network of garment factories (12-15) in Sagaing to provide employment to around 20,000 people. It is time to evaluate what lies behind these sudden kind gestures or we will be in fix. The accepting compensation or selling our motherland for personal benefits will set a wrong precedent and actually send a signal that Indigenous Ethnic Groups in Myanmar have “price tag”. Today it is Sagaing, tomorrow it could be in Kachin, Shan or elsewhere and in present scenario the options for negotiations are closed.
One must analyze why Indigenous Ethnic Groups are being asked for such compromises whereas Bamars are not affected. There is no need to discuss the Tatmadaw – China relations. Senior generals have been holding stake in Chinese companies executing projects in Myanmar. Return of Tatmadaw i.e., February 01, 2021 will reverse the game and one can see how the projects stucked up for years are cleared and works is resumed despite opposition from the local residents. Myitsone dam will be in priority and so the Muse-Mandalay rail and expressway.
Bringing more investments in Sagaing is mainly to check the influence of our western neighbour, India, with whom our relations have improved during NLD’s regime and lots of projects including joint ventures, defence co-operation are in pipeline. Similarly China intends to finish Muse-Mandalay-Kyakhpyu rail project in records time mainly to get hold over Rakhine and to counter India in Bay of Bengal. It is also pertinent to keep check over activities of PRC sponsored NGOs like Social Resources Institute (SRI), Global Environment Institute (GEI) and China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) as they have been influencing the indigenous people in the catchment areas or project sites and with false hopes by highlighting the advantages of BRI projects.
It is also surprising that, our ASEAN members remain neutral and dismissed this debacle as internal affair of Myanmar. Myanmar Generals have claimed they will conduct fair elections but forget to mention who will decide it is fair or unfair, they themselves or their instructors in north.
N.B. Chyoi is an analyst based in Arunachal Pradesh. The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Kachinland News.