2021 - A Year of Military Rule: Predictions and Way Forward for 2022
Cchavi Vasisht, Research Associate, VIF

The year 2021 was the most distressing period in Myanmar’s independent history. Unlike the earlier two coups, the opposite forces (National Unity Government, People’s Defence Forces and Ethnic Armed Organisations) reacted sharply to the military rule. As a result, the rural and urban areas and almost all regions face conflicts. The conflict resulted in widespread displacement, within and outside the country, leading to the refugee problem in Thailand and India. On the other hand, the National Unity Government (NUG) emerged as a response against the military rule, strengthened forces and claimed legitimacy internationally. There are multiple forms of resistance, such as the demonstrations, protests, silent strikes and many have adopted the violent ways, mainly jungle warfare. Nevertheless, they have failed to provide a common front along with Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs). Further, Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to six years of imprisonment.[1]

There have been mixed international responses. On the one hand, the western countries have adopted their conventional ways of sanctioning the military rulers and the companies. The regional powers such as ASEAN, India and Japan are looking for amicable solutions. On the other hand, China and Russia have provided certain legitimacy to the military rulers by supporting them and supplying arms.

The United Nations (UN) has raised the alarm on the reeling crisis in Myanmar due to the military coup and the COVID-19 outbreaks. According to a recent UN report, the people of Myanmar are facing an unprecedented crisis in 2022 - political, socio-economic, human rights and humanitarian. The projection for 2022 suggests that 14.4 million people will need aid in the country.

Three Types of Conflict Patterns

The nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) was launched after the imposition of military rule. The CDM was characterised by boycotts, demonstrations, street barricades, and symbolic gestures such as resignations. After the initial response of conventional crowd control methods by the national police force, the armed forces took the stage. However, the resistance or conflict is not just between the military and opposite forces.[2] There are the following three sets of conflict patterns-

  • Between the military and the NUG armed wing known as People's Defence Forces (PDF), including various local defence forces - In September 2021, the NUG, along with other PDFs, launched a nationwide ‘People’s War’. Since then the conflicts have increased in intensity. According to an ISP-Myanmar report (28 October), some 120 to 300 resistance groups were counted, with an estimated strength of 20000 and 30000 troops. In response, the military launched the “Alaung Min Taya” operation, involving raids backed by airstrikes and heliborne assault in November 2021. According to the ISP-Myanmar, there were around 1948 armed engagements between the military troops and resistance groups till December 2021. The northern Chin State and northeast Sagaing region are the two most affected regions where the ethnic armed groups give training, weapons and operational support to PDFs. This anti-regime movement is supported by civil servants, doctors, business class and services classes. In addition, around 800 military personnel and police defected in September and October 2021, according to NUG sources. The rise of PDFs was also facilitated by social media and apps such as Facebook, Signal, Whatsapp and Telegram.
  • Inter-ethnic conflict - Only the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) launched attacks against the military in Shan State. The United Wa State Army (UWSA) continued with the ceasefire agreement signed in 1989. In north Shan, an alliance of two EAOs – the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) launched offensives against Restoration Council for Shan State (RCSS). The RCSS has also decided to maintain its ceasefire agreement with the military. The top leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU) also stuck to their ceasefire. However, few local groups are fighting against the military.
  • Between the military and the Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) - Some groups are not directly supporting the NUG and are fighting battles with the military, such as the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). While the KIA is not officially in coordination with the NUG, the Kachin News Group on 09 December reported that the NUG will sell bonds through the KIO network domestically. Also, there are reports that the KIA provides arms and training to other PDFs. Then there are exceptions with limited or no conflict against the military. For example, Rakhine State saw intense fighting between the military and the Arakan Army (AA). In November 2020, however, it agreed to a ceasefire. This has allowed the military to concentrate on fighting the PDFs. The Arakan Army has also taken advantage of the military being preoccupied with other conflicts to consolidate its political power and enhance its autonomy. In December 2021, however, a few small-scale clashes were reported between the AA and the military. The Mon Unity Party (MUP) has collaborated with the military in the Mon State. Following its alliance, within the SAC, the party was given one seat at the union level and one at the state level. They also renamed the bridge from the “General Aung San Bridge” to “Thanlwin Bridge”, connecting Mawlamyine and Belu Island. However, according to ISP-Myanmar, nine PDFs were also estimated to be present in the Mon State.
Result of Conflict - Displacement and Consequent Refugee Crisis
Within Country

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report, more than 223,000 people in Myanmar have been displaced due to armed conflict and unrest since the coup. And the numbers of refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries remain at some 22000. [3] Under such a situation, the military has also restricted international aid. The military blocked access roads and aid convoys, destroyed non-military supplies, attacked aid workers and disabled tele-communications services. The military added more constraints to the existing requisite travel authorisation process for humanitarian workers. The travel authorisations which expired after the coup have not been renewed and visas for aid workers were delayed or denied. In addition, some humanitarian workers have been arrested and charged with incitement under Section 505A of the penal code. One such case is the town of Paletwa, Chin State.[4] The World Food Programme (WFP) reported that they had not received food since the second week of December 2021. Further, the UN and other aid agencies also face a financial crunch. They have only received 18 percent of the USD 109 million requested to respond to the post-coup humanitarian emergency. Furthermore, the funding requirements for 2022 have more than doubled due to the crisis. In addition, the risk of human trafficking has also risen.[5]

Impacting the Neighbours
Thailand

Along the eastern border, Thailand faces a new wave of refugees as a result of clashes between the military and Karen National Union (KNU) in Lay Kay Kaw areas, Myawaddy Town. More than 10000 villagers were displaced and around 3000 of those crossed into Thailand. On 17 January 2022, Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, during a meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Burma, Noeleen Heyzer, stated that the displaced villagers would be able to return to their country voluntarily. However, this raised concerns about the forced return of the displaced people into a conflict-ridden country. Furthermore, sources have claimed that the military would continue its attacks. During the meeting, the UN envoy also called for the Thai government to help prevent conflict escalation and protect refugees.[6] Subsequently, in February 2022, Thailand took down the makeshifts and deported the refugees back to the country.[7]

India

With the escalation of the military’s attacks in Chin State, there has been a rise in the number of refugees entering Indian State, Mizoram. Mizoram shares a 510-km long border with the Chin State. The UNHCR estimated that more than 33,800 people had been displaced in Chin State, and an additional 15,000 people have entered India’s Manipur State, which lies to Mizoram’s north, most of them from Sagaing Region. Further, an Indian Express report stated that within January 2022, more than 2000 people would have entered Mizoram.[8] In the early phase of refugees entering the country, Mizoram Chief Minister requested the Indian Prime Minister to allow Myanmar nationals belonging to the Chin community to be provided asylum on humanitarian grounds against the directive issued by the Centre. However, the movement has also heightened the incidents of illegal trafficking of humans, betel nuts, opium and arms and ammunition. On 20 January 2022, Assam Rifles and Mizoram police arrested at least three people transporting explosives into the Indian side.[9]

Economic Crises

After decades of isolation, Myanmar economy was viewed as one of the most promising countries. Since the western nations uplifted and eased sanctions, annual growth had been around 5to 8 per cent.[10] The coup threatened to depress growth that had revived after decades of isolation and international sanctions. The World Bank forecasted a 10 per cent contraction in Myanmar's economy in 2021 in contrast to the October 2020 forecast of 5.9 per cent growth. The following are the characteristics of the Myanmar economy under the onslaught of the military coup-

  • Inflation has risen to 6.51 per cent since the military took power from 1.51 per cent previously.
  • Myanmar currency, the kyat, lost over 60 percent of its value since the coup. From September to October 2021, the Central Bank of Myanmar spent USD 110 million defending the kyat.[11] The government’s economic minister revealed that foreign exchange holdings (USD 6 billion) are below previously estimated.
  • In March 2021, the exports slid to USD 252 million and USD 254 million, down 30 per cent from the weekly average in January 2021. AP Moller Maersk, the container-shipping company, temporarily suspended office and warehouse operations in Myanmar.
  • Foreign investors suspended more than USD 6 billion worth of projects. Among the significant projects, Thailand’s Amanta Corporation suspended work on an industrial hub. Toyota has delayed opening its USD 52.6million vehicle plant in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone. French energy giant EDF suspended the hydropower project in Shan State over human rights concerns.[12]
  • The UN predicted that around half of the population would be living under the poverty line in 2022. In 2017, Myanmar had a poverty rate of 24.8 percent, down from 48.2 percent in 2005. The ongoing crisis compounded the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic. Nearly half of the population of Myanmar (48.2 percent) will be reeling under poverty and reversing the gains made since 2005.[13]
  • The WFP warned that up to 3.4 million citizens could go hungry in 2021 amid rising food prices and more than 600,000 workers have lost their jobs. For instance, over 75 per cent of the garment sector had suspended their operations because major foreign brands halted orders and there were multiple crackdowns in industrial areas. Before the coup, the garment sector employed around 500,000 people and earned around USD 6 billion from exporting clothes in 2020. In addition, around 300,000 to 400,000 construction workers have lost their jobs as major infrastructure projects are halted, the Construction Workers Union reported.[14] Farming incomes have been affected by lower prices, higher input prices, and limited access to credit. The monsoon floods in July and August 2021 have further affected more than 120,000 people.
  • Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) data shows the reduction of newly registered companies. In January 2021, the number of newly registered companies was 1373, reduced to 188 in February and 163 in March. Compared to 2020, the number of registered companies declined by nearly 87 percent.[15]
  • The ratio of tax to GDP fell to around 5 per cent, down from 8.4 per cent in 2020.[16] The military has been printing money to address the deficit. However, in March 2021, the German banknote manufacturer Giesecke and Devrient suspended its printing supplies in due to growing military violence.[17]In December 2021, the Irrawaddy reported that an Uzbekistan Airways planecarried paper for printing banknotes.
How are NUG Funding itself and its Operations
  • In August 2021, the NUG introduced a pilot project, “Spring Lottery”, tickets online to support the CDM. More than 200,000 ticket orders were made, but many of the payments were cancelled, and the actual sales were much less.
  • The NUG officially introduced voluntary taxation in August 2021. The NUG invited taxpayers, including businesses at home and abroad, to voluntarily pay tax online through a self-assessment process. The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) approved the Union Taxation Law in September 2021. The NUG stated that it collected more than USD 150,000 in tax during the month.
  • In December 2021, they started selling bonds to fund the movement against the military. It aimed to raise USD 1 billion from the two-year bonds, which do not offer interest.[18]
Educational and Health Crises
  • In the previous two coups, the military had heavily censored access to information and controlled universities by imposing rote learning models and even shut down institutions. The student-led protests in 1988 were silenced by violence and mass arrests, and the universities in Yangon were shut for ten years.[19] Therefore, part of the NLD strategy revamped education and adopted student-centred teaching models. However, with another coup, there were fears about the sliding back on the educational reforms and widespread participation of students in the movement. This came true and along with students, over 300,000 teachers and education department personnel participated in the CDM.[20] According to sources, in 2020 and 2021, learning was disrupted for almost 12 million children.
  • Organised resistance to the 1 February coup in Myanmar started with healthcare workers announcing a boycott of state-run hospitals. They led the first street protests, calling it the "white coat revolution”. As a result, in many areas, more than 70 per cent of health workers abandoned their jobs.
  • A shadow health system was built up under the authority of the NUG. The system is supported by thousands of volunteers working in charity clinics or private hospitals and using encrypted communication apps to avoid detection.
  • The NUG launched its vaccine programme in July 2021, but this has been primarily limited to border areas under the control of ethnic armies. One such example is KIA.[21]
  • Due to increased conflicts and displacement, the UN report estimates that 14 out of 15 states and regions are within the critical threshold for acute malnutrition.
Curtailed Media Freedom
  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has retraced the stages through which the military harassed, threatened and intimidated journalists and consequently brought the press freedom to its lowest levels. In total, 98 journalists have been arrested under Article 505(A) of the Criminal Code, punishing them for three years n prison for spreading “fake news” or agitating anger against the military. Broad stages are given below:-
  • February 2021: Shock and crackdown
    March-April 2021: Intimidation
    May-June-July 2021: Consolidation of power

  • Myanmar is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index. [22]
  • Political analyst Aung Thu Nyein stated that 2021 was one of the worst years for the media.
  • Within hours of the coup, the military controlled access to information via cutting the internet and blocking social media sites. In addition, the broadcasters’ licenses were revoked and journalists were arrested and killed.[23]
  • In September 2021, Norwegian mobile carrier Telenor left when the military wanted to intercept calls carried on its network.
  • On 13 January 2022, Myanmar’s military floated a cyber security law that would ban the use of virtual private networks and digital currency. The bill is currently open for comments. It will subject VPN users to one to three years of imprisonment and a fine of five million Myanmar Kyats upon adoption. After the coup, the military banned Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and the users shifted to using VPNs to retain access to their online communication services. The bill will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on political speech and human rights.[24]
Risk of Potential Environmental Crisis
  • The Global Climate Risk Index puts Myanmar among the most at risk from the climate crisis.
  • Due to the ongoing coup, the climate negotiators have isolated the country’s military leaders and other opposition forces. At COP26 in Glasgow, the participants from both sides were denied entry. Further, the Aung San Suu Kyi government’s efforts to pursue renewable energy projects and develop climate resilience have been derailed since the military coup. For instance, the developers awarded a solar power tender in 2020 were unable to deliver because of the coup. In May 2021, the military introduced solar power tender but had to extend the bidding deadline three times due to a lack of bidders.
  • In addition, environmental activists fear that the military will scale up logging, the teak trade, palm oil plantations and the exploitation of natural resources, such as jade. These natural resources in the past have supported the military regimes even under international sanctions. There are also fears that the military might restart the controversial China-backed Myitsone Dam in northern Myanmar.[25]
International Engagements

The UN has postponed deciding on who should represent Myanmar at the international organisation, whether the military or the NUG representative. The World Health Organisation and other bodies have also not recognised the military or the NUG. On the other hand, Myanmar’s military ordered its staff not to receive any notifications issued by international courts to prosecute the military leaders. The leaked order tells staffs not to accept any letter sent by the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the Argentinean Federal Court, which have opened cases against military leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity.[26]

United States - Ineffective Sanctions Rule

Since the declaration of the military coup, the Biden administration in the United States (US) has strongly condemned the coup. And, along with other western nations, have imposed sanctions. The effectiveness of these sanctions has already been discussed in the earlier article.[27] The US also introduced the Burma Unified Through Rigorous Military Accountability (BURMA) Act of 2021 into the House of Representatives. The bill aims “to support and protect the Burmese people and send a clear signal to the Burmese military to reverse its actions.”If passed, the Act would authorise the imposition of more sanctions and authorise the creation of a Special Coordinator for Burmese Democracy at the State Department “to promote an international effort to impose and enforce multilateral sanctions on Burma and coordinate United States Government interagency efforts on Burma.”

European Union - Move to Recognise the Parallel Government

The Czech Republic was the first European country where the NUG set up a representative office in 2021. Kristina Kironska, a Bratislava-based academic, stated “there has long been a special connection between pro-democracy activists in both countries, thanks to the long-distance friendship between Aung San Suu Kyi and Vaclav Havel, the leading Czech anti-communist figure who became president after the fall of communism in 1989.” With the Czech Republic assuming the presidency in the second half of the year 2022, it is expected that if the Czech government pursues a hostile policy against the military, the EU would also act similarly. [28]

Recently, the European Parliament voted to support Myanmar’s shadow NUG and its parliamentary committee, CRPH, as the legitimate representatives of Myanmar. They called on the ASEAN and other foreign governments “to include and involve them in genuine and inclusive political dialogue and efforts.” The motion passed with 647 votes in favour, two against, and 31 abstentions. The European Parliament thereby becomes the first foreign legislature to legitimise to the NUG and the CRPH. The motion condemned the coup and requested that the European Council should continue to impose “targeted and robust sanctions”. So far, the EU has so far imposed three rounds of sanctions on military officials and their aligned businesses. Brussels is preparing to announce the fourth round of sanctions and has also called for an international arms embargo on Myanmar.[29]

ASEAN - Conflicting Views

On 24 April 2021, the ASEAN ushered in a five-point consensus doctrine, but due to the non-implementation of the doctrine on the part of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the plan did not take off. Few ASEAN countries, such as Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines, have expressed frustration at the military’s failure to implement the plan. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated that until there is “meaningful progress” in implementing the five-point consensus, ASEAN should stick to its decision made at the 38th and 39th ASEAN summits to invite an apolitical representative from Myanmar at ASEAN meetings. Min Aung Hlaing was disallowed at the 38th and 39th ASEAN summits in October 2021. Instead, ASEAN leaders had invited Chan Aye, the military’s foreign ministry permanent secretary, as the country’s non-political representative. However, Chan Aye did not attend the summit saying he did so to “protest against ASEAN or boycott ASEAN”.[30]

The Philippines Foreign Minister, Teodoro Locsin, gave out a much stronger statement and claimed that Aung San Suu Kyi is "indispensable" in restoring democracy to the country and must be included in any peace talks. He also accused the military of using the judicial system to crush its opponents.[31]

As Cambodia assumes the presidency in 2022, it is assumed that it will be better positioned to offer help. In December 2021, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen met the military’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wunna Maung Lwin. He further visited Myanmar in January 2022 and urged Myanmar's military ruler to allow a visit by a special envoy of the ASEAN and support humanitarian aid access.[32] However, the visit sparked protests in many regions. The western nations and human rights groups have condemned Hun Sen for his actions, such as the crackdown on opponents or media groups.

China - Own Economic Interests - Dual tactics to pacify military and support EAOs

China’s economic interests lie in the stability of Myanmar. Anti-Chinese sentiment swelled in Myanmar following the military coup. There were calls to boycott Chinese products and blow up China’s infrastructure. In August 2021, Chinasent Sun Guoxiang, a Special Envoy of Asian Affairs, to Myanmar. The military regime has been providing security for Chinese investments in Myanmar. The military planted landmines near a control centre for the China-backed oil and gas pipeline in northern Shan State to deter attacks. On 24 December 2021, China gifted Myanmar a Type 035 or Ming-class diesel submarine (renamed UMS Minye Kyaw Htin).
More recently, China urged Myanmar’s parallel NUG to ensure its resistance movement does not harm Chinese investments. On 07 January 2022, the Tigyaing Township People’s Defense Force (PDF) attacked electricity pylons supplying the China-backed Tagaung Taung nickel-processing plant in Sagaing. However, the NUG Defence Minister said the local resistance group attacked on its initiative because military troops are using factory compounds of companies from neighbouring countries as bases from which to commit violence against civilians.[33]

Russia - Support to the Military Rule

Russia shared a close relationship with the Myanmar military and, therefore, continued to engage with the military leaders despite the coup. Further, Russia also provides arms and ammunition. The close defence relations were reflected as Russia sent its Deputy Defence Minister Alexandr Fomin to attend Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day on 27 March 2021. Despite huge public and governmental opposition against military rule, Russia was the only country to send its ministerial-level delegate. Further, Russia, along with China have opposed any strong action or sanctions against Myanmar military generals at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Furthermore, Russia delivered a consignment of Sukhoi Su-30SME multi-role fighter jets and military training aircraft to Myanmar.[34]

Japan - Voice for Democracy with few Hiccups

Japan has consistently promoted democratic and peaceful norms in the country. Japan was proactive in brokering a deal between the military and AA to conduct elections in Rakhine. Japan defended the country when the world countries condemned the situation in Rakhine State. Economically, huge grants and development loans are being offered to Myanmar. However, after the coup, Japanese beverage giant Kirin cut ties with a Myanmar military-owned conglomerate MEHL saying it was concerned by military’s actions.

Nevertheless, Japan has been condemned by Human Rights Groups for training Myanmar military cadets. According to the Defence Ministry Official, the National Defence Academy of Japan was hosting eight cadets from Myanmar. The Human Rights Watch has suggested that the Japanese government should cut ties with the Myanmar military and immediately suspend the military study-abroad program involving Myanmar cadets.[35]

India - Cautious and Limited Interaction

On 22 December, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla made a two-day visit to Myanmar. This is India’s first high-level engagement with Myanmar after the coup in February 2021. India delivered 10,000 tonnes of rice and wheat and millions of vaccines. The political analysts viewed the visit as a result of security concerns in North-East India. November 2021 signalled the revival of insurgent activity on the India–Myanmar border with the killing of the Commanding Officer of Assam Rifles, Col Viplav Tripathi, his family and four other security personnel in Manipur.

However, the Myanmar military helped India with security-related issues. Recently, the Myanmar military handed over five insurgents to India. This is the second time it has helped India with insurgents in the North-East in the past two years. The Foreign Secretary request to meet Suu Kyi was denied and was on expected lines. The attempt was to give a political signal to the pro-democracy camp. However, he met members of civil society and political parties, including the NLD. He also met ambassadors and representatives of the UN-based in Myanmar. According to Harsh Pant, director and head of the strategic studies programme at Observer Research Foundation, “the China factor is also very important and it cannot be marginalised”. [36]

Predictions for 2022-
  • Myanmar Military is unlikely to win the battle against NUG and PDFs- The military is viewed as simply too big to fail with regard to its organisation, cohesion, resources and centrality. However, the question arises because even if the military continues to hold power, the legitimacy, prestige and respect that it had earlier will not return. The continuation of protest and conflict and the success of the silent strikes (three to date) have made it clear that the people are against the military. Therefore, the clashes are set to increase in 2022.[37] Also, there have been signs of weaknesses in military strength in terms of manpower, such as increasing number of defections, recruitment of teenagers as “child soldiers”, and recalling of retired servicemen.

  • The Military Tactics of Divide and Rule EAOs Unlikely to bear results - The military regime is trying to negotiate with some ethnic armed groups. For example, they met with members of FNCPP in Shan State in December 2021. Simultaneously, the military is also waging attacks against the ethnic armed groups. However, the EAOs no longer trust the military and its commitments. In the earlier two coups, the military promised greater representation to the EAOs but failed to deliver on its promises.
  • Broadening of Myanmar’s Democratic Politics - The continued resistance to the military has demonstrated that domestic politics is now gone beyond Suu Kyi legacy. The way forward for Myanmar in 2022 and further years would be that all stakeholders get equal representation to form a federal democratic government. The NUG promised various reforms to appeal to Myanmar’s EAOs, most notably, the formation of the Federal Army. However, the EAOs remain wary of the NUG due to past difficulties with the NLD.
  • The international responses will continue to be divided - The question arises whether the international and regional organisations have lost their influence or not. The sanctions have failed to impact the military’s actions. Further, the question arises whether ASEAN will be able to ensure the military's accountability and responsibility.
  • India will try and engage with the military rulers as well as lay ground for talks with the opposition forces - India’s first high-level visit to Myanmar post-coup has laid the grounds for further interactions. Furthermore, the meetings with civil society groups and other members of the NUG give out a clear message that India is not going to only deal with the military.
Way Forward for 2022
  • Need for Ideology, Coordination and Weapons - The current opposition forces have a fragmented approach against the military. What is required is a coordinated strategy and attack that could effectively exert a strategic impact on the military. Therefore, it is essential to coordinate attacks with local PDFs and provide funds and weapons. Currently, dialogue in the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) is ongoing. Further, the local PDFs were fighting with traditional hunting rifles earlier and have recently started using automatic weapons purchased from EAOs based in border areas. For instance, KIA manufactures small arms and has assisted some PDFs in Sagaing. Nevertheless, PDF attacks on the military remain largely hit-and-run affairs.[38] It has also been argued that if the armies, such as in Shan and Rakhine State join the protests and NLD movement; the military may be forced to re-correct its path.
  • Release of Aung San Suu Kyi - The recent Philippines statement reasserts the need to release Suu Kyi. Myanmar’s military administration has already sentenced her to six years imprisonment. According to Phil Robertson, U.S.-based organisation Human Rights Watch, the military still views her as a “paramount political threat that needs to be permanently neutralised”.
  • Address Human Rights Violations - The ongoing crises have led to thousands of people being displaced leading to a humanitarian crisis. The human rights groups have raised voices against the violence inflicted on the citizens and continued suppression of political and social lives. There has been a call from every organisation raising the alarm about the dire condition in the country. Therefore, it requires the immediate attention of the country as well as regional and international organisations.
  • Unite International Responses - It is crucial to have a united front to ensure that the military engages with all stakeholders and ushers in democracy. A piecemeal approach fails to reap benefits and sanctions have effectively failed to impact the military’s access to resources, funds and weapons. On the one hand, ASEAN can play a bigger role, but support is required from all countries to reintroduce democratic forces in the country.
  • India’s Steps towards balancing the different forces in Myanmar - India’s security and geostrategic concerns lays the ground for effective integration with all stakeholders. Most importantly, India must engage with the EAOs, which were not considered as stakeholders in the current geopolitics. In addition, the ongoing political crisis has also threatened to create a refugee crisis for India, which needs immediate attention.
Conclusion

The data from ACLED has documented a 632 per cent increase in armed clashes and attacks in 2021 compared to 2020. Myanmar has witnessed more armed clashes and attacks than both Yemen and Afghanistan. Further, the International Crisis Group has included Myanmar in its list of 10 crisis areas in the world to watch in 2022.[39] Such a dire situation needs immediate attention from the world countries and a united front. Further, India could play a proactive role in the country and engage with opposition forces as well to establish a stand for democracy. Even the opposition forces in the country should adopt a coordinated and united front and the promises must be fulfilled. The mistrust and failure to recognise and represent ethnic minorities need to be corrected for the adequate establishment of a federal democracy.

[1]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/22/myanmar-sentences-lawmaker-from-aung-san-suu-kyis-party-to-death
[2]https://mizzima.com/article/year-roundup-2021-conflict-situation-myanmars-ethnic-states-and-regions
[3]https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/12/1109012
[4]https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/12/13/myanmar-junta-blocks-lifesaving-aid
[5]https://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/myanmar-junta-blocks-lifesaving-aid
[6]https://karennews.org/2022/01/burma-army-planning-large-scale-offensive-against-combined-karen-forces-displaced-people-fear-forced-return-from-thailand/
[7]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/thailand-02012022092914.html
[8]https://thediplomat.com/2022/01/myanmar-refugee-numbers-swell-in-indias-mizoram-state/
[9]https://thewire.in/government/myanmar-military-mizoram-refugees-influx-crackdown
[11]https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Myanmar-Crisis/Myanmar-s-economy-once-Asia-s-last-frontier-lies-in-tatters
[12]https://tradingeconomics.com/myanmar/currency
[13]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/100-days-since-myanmars-coup-looming-economic-collapse-poverty-and-hunger.html
[14]file:///Users/chhavivashisht/Downloads/UNDP-RBAP-COVID-19-Coup-d-Etat-and-Poverty-Impact-on-Myanmar-2021.pdf
[15]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/100-days-since-myanmars-coup-looming-economic-collapse-poverty-and-hunger.html
[16]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-economy-freefall-military-regime.html
[17]https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/world/asia/2021-10-19-myanmar-blames-economic-turmoil-partly-on-foreign-backed-sabotage/
[18]https://www.irrawaddy.com/business/economy/uzbek-plane-supplies-myanmar-junta-with-banknote-paper.html
[19]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-civilian-government-to-start-selling-bonds-to-fund-revolution.html
[20]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/3/military-coup-kills-higher-education-dreams-in-myanmar
[21]https://www.justsecurity.org/76921/beyond-the-coup-in-myanmar-dont-let-the-light-of-education-be-extinguished/
[22]https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-59649006
[23]https://rsf.org/en/news/story-how-press-freedom-was-crushed-six-months-myanmar
[24] https://www.eurasiareview.com/02012022-myanmars-most-oppressive-year-against-media/
[25] https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/24/myanmar_military_junta_bans_vpns_crypto/
[26]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/1/myanmar-climate
[27]https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/junta-issues-order-to-ignore-notifications-from-international-courts
[28]https://www.vifindia.org/article/2021/may/22/sanctions-an-ineffective-tool-in-myanmar
[29] https://www.dw.com/en/myanmars-government-in-exile-finds-friends-in-the-czech-republic/a-60460310
[29]https://thediplomat.com/2021/10/eu-parliament-voices-support-for-myanmars-opposition-government/
[30]https://www.thebharatexpressnews.com/asean-to-invite-myanmars-non-political-representative-to-meetings-until-meaningful-progress-is-made-on-five-point-consensus-pm-lee/
[31]https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/philippines-says-indispensable-suu-kyi-must-be-involved-myanmar-peace-process-2022-01-16/
[32]https://www.dw.com/en/cambodian-pms-visit-to-myanmar-sparks-protests/a-60358591
[33]With an investment of USD 800 million and annual output of 85,000 tonnes of ferronickel, the project is the largest nickel production site in Myanmar. It is a joint venture between the No. 1 Mining Enterprise of Myanmar and China’s state-owned China Nonferrous Metal Mining (CNMC). https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/china-tells-myanmars-civilian-govt-to-spare-projects-from-attack.html
[34]http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Moscow-sells-warplanes-to-Burmese-generals-53724.html
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/07/23/russia-on-track-to-deliver-fighter-jets-to-myanmar-reports-a74597
[35]https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/12/21/japan-cut-defense-ties-myanmar-military
[36]https://www.theweek.in/theweek/cover/2022/01/01/foreign-secretary-myanmar-trip-shows-india-wont-allow-china-to-use-northeast-to-its-advantage.html
[37]https://www.mizzima.com/article/year-roundup-2021-conflict-situation-myanmars-ethnic-states-and-regions
[38]https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/a-new-politics-is-taking-shape-in-myanmar.html
[39]https://www.mizzima.com/article/icg-includes-myanmar-its-list-10-world-hotspots

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