India hosted the second round of Track 1.5 dialogue on Tuesday under the aegis of the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) to discuss the current situation in Myanmar, which has been under military ‘junta’ rule since February 2021. Representatives from all 10 countries that constitute the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) participated in the meeting and called for the cessation of violence in Myanmar and the delivery of humanitarian aid.
During the meeting, India and ASEAN discussed the reduction of violence, countering transnational crimes, national reconciliation, and delivery of humanitarian aid. The countries also agreed that the delivery of humanitarian aid to Myanmar needs “to be expedited”. They emphasized the need for a regionally coordinated approach to combat transnational crimes and Myanmar’s crucial role in that. The participants also called for creating political space for dialogue and reducing violence by all sides.
The dialogue also discussed ways to effectively implement ASEAN’s ‘5-point consensus’ on Myanmar which was enunciated in April 2021. India and Myanmar continue to have bilateral ties despite the coup, and the Indian Army has ramped up its activities in the north-eastern states of Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram to ensure that no armed militants from Myanmar can enter India through the north-east.
Lt Gen Kalita, who was attending the diamond jubilee celebrations of HQ 101 area in Shillong, told reporters that India opposes all forms of societal violence and that it is the army’s responsibility to ensure that no one carrying weapons enters Indian territory. The junta leader Hlaing visited India in 2019, and both sides signed an MoU on enhanced defense cooperation.
Meanwhile, the junta continued with its violent activities, attacking its people in the country by carrying out air strikes in the Sagaing Region on Monday that resulted in several casualties. This happened even as former United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon landed in the capital Naypyidaw in a surprise visit to urge the military generals of Myanmar to reduce violence and engage in meaningful and constructive dialogue with all stakeholders.
The former UN Secretary-General was representing ‘The Elders’, an NGO founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007 comprising a group of senior public figures who continue to work on peace, justice, and human rights. The junta is now planning to hold elections in Myanmar in November even as Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) has been dissolved which stood for democracy in the country.