" ... foreign policy analysts are not surprised by India's low-key response [to the Burma crisis]. They say it is in line with New Delhi's policy of engaging Burma's military junta to meet its own strategic interests.
The reversal of India's strong support for Burma's democracy movement and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi began in the mid 1990's. It was triggered by three factors: New Delhi wanted the military junta to act against rebels who were using bases in Burma to wage insurgencies in India's northeast. India also wanted to counter China's growing influence in the region and secure a stake in Burma's rich energy resources.
India's decision to do business with the military junta culminated in 2004, when New Delhi hosted a visit by Burma's military leader, Than Shwe.
Analysts say India's policy, like that of many other countries, is driven by realpolitik. International relations expert former Major General Ashok Mehta says Western countries also work with military regimes in the pursuit of larger security interests, such as the war against terrorism.
"You take the case of the United States, I am only giving one example. [The] United States has strategic interests in areas bordering Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and therefore, while it talks about restoration or revival of democracy and human rights, there is very little it does to ensure that happens there," he said.
India's naval and air force chiefs have visited Burma in the past year as New Delhi has steadily deepened its military cooperation with its neighbor.(1)
Uncounted US billions of aid and development dollars have been poured into India by the democratic nations. The same happened with China. These developing countries have stood on the shoulders of giants -- democratic giants. Yet very little has rubbed off in their dealings with less developed countries.
As for the examples Mehta gives, since when has the United States actively cooperated in suppressing democracy in those countries, as India has done in Burma?
Yet Mehta's analysis is very instructive. It shows us the true face of what we're dealing with in this century.