India and Myanmar enhance their terms looking forward to the development
India and Myanmar enhance their terms looking forward to the development

With the onset of pandemic, all nations are in a way to build terms. In a major addition to the Narendra Modi government's Act East policy, India and Myanmar have decided to operationalize the strategic Sittwe port in Rakhine state early next year and begin steps to complete India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highways. The flagship policy aims to strengthen India’s relations with the Asia Pacific region.

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The progress finds importance in the meaning of China’s growing footprints in South and Southeast Asia. China is also aggressively seeking what is known as its “debt-trap diplomacy” in India’s neighborhood and beyond, in order to obtain economic and political concessions from the borrowing countries when they are unable to repay the loans. For example, Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port is widely cited as a classic case of China’s predatory lending practice. It is believed that the island nation had to hand over the port to China after being unable to pay off its loans issued to construct the project.

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Nevertheless, countries like Myanmar are walking carefully even as China is pushing several infrastructure projects, including its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in Southeast Asia. The ongoing border standoff with China seems to have offered India an opportunity to further strengthen its economic and military ties with its eastern neighbor. India’s proposal to invest $6 billion to set up an oil refinery near Yangon is a step in that direction.

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