It appears that the West has been giving INGOs scripts to use against countries that disagree with their position on Burma. Such behaviour merely demonstrates their frustration and biased viewpoint. There are a number of challenges that have persisted for many years in each of the countries that border Burma on land. Rohingya refugees are a problem shared by Bangladesh and Myanmar that, despite international engagement, has not been resolved. Similar to Myanmar, India also has insurgency challenges in its bordering North East region with Myanmar as well as an influx of Myanmarese refugees following a coup. Similar to the Thai-Myanmar border on the eastern front, the China-Myanmar frontier in the north also features territorial conflicts, human trafficking and arms & narcotic smuggling.
The resolution of internal problems in Bangladesh, India, Thailand and China therefore continues to take precedence over developments in Myanmar. Government to government interaction must also only involve the Tatmadaw because no other social media body or government in exile can resolve the issue. The ethnic armed regions of Myanmar don’t really care who the runs Nay Pyi Daw because their issues are only local. They are happier with autonomy than with the union. Running a story that targets Myanmar’s close neighbours won’t be enough to achieve the goal.
Conducting a methodical campaign while disregarding the reality on the ground won’t work for very long and exposure is likely. The topic of Reliance Industries, an Indian company, supplying aviation fuel to the Myanmar Army last year was recently covered in a scripted piece in Irrawaddy, published from Chiang Mai. Amnesty International and Global Witness were the first to publish this information on social media. Reliance Industries is a privately held, as opposed to a state-owned, business that is free to conduct business with anyone. It is the way the economies are run that many Indian and Burmese businessmen conduct trade. Economic isolation of Myanmar will never be a solution and sanctions have rarely been effective in the past. Sanctions always affect the average person, not the elites or those in positions of power.
A nation like Iran has endured sanctions for more than 30 years and has nevertheless become stronger. Challenges always teach us to adapt and make the most of our restricted possibilities.
With reference to India, one can correlate the sequence of events. Since the Russia-Ukraine crisis created its own concerns in the west and India’s role throughout the fight had portrayed it as the upcoming world power. Indian Prime Minister was initially targeted by a UK based media corporation and followed by a report on Indian Businessman by US based financial firm with a questionable track record. Such designed events reflects insecurities rather truth. The west is concerned about China and Russia’s increased presence in Myanmar following the coup, but the real issue is that by leaving the country, west establishments opened the path for an easier Chinese takeover at reduced costs. Situation is complicated and instead of fighting an informational war on social or traditional media, the situation needs to be addressed locally because it is multifaceted. People look for actions rather than promises since hopes and patience too have a thresholds.