Aung San Suu Kyi's party National League for Democracy (NLD) registered a resounding victory in the recently concluded Myanmar parliamentary election, defeating the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). This may reduce China's influence in Myanmar, while strategic, economic, military, cultural, educational cooperation and coordination between India and Myanmar are expected to accelerate.
The balance of many USDP candidates, including retired military officials, in the election to Myanmar, is expected to balance in India's favor because many USDP candidates, who were in Myanmar's military, have close ties with China. If they had won, Beijing's interests would have been encouraged. China has been using some rebel groups against India. For example, the Arakan Army is working against the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project by India for easy movement of goods in Northeast India. Many ethnic groups have been revolting in Myanmar for decades and fighting against the military. Rebel groups such as the Arakan Army are supported by Beijing and the NLD's access to them could pave the way for peace talks with the rebels.
Beijing is using its influence on the Myanmar rebels to pressure Myanmar's military. According to experts, the NLD government has distanced itself from China and rejected the Dragon's deadly grip, which means positive development for India. In addition, insurgent groups from Kachin, Karen, and some other ethnic groups are harboring militants from northeast India, who receive arms and other support from China through Myanmar rebels.
In fact, for the last two decades, India has increased cooperation with the Myanmar army, due to which its distance from Beijing has been possible. The data shows that military cooperation between India and Myanmar has increased significantly. But China, which provides support and financial support to ethnic rebel groups in the rest of Myanmar, still has influence in Myanmar's military. But Suu's victory will increase the NLD's ability to establish contacts with ethnic parties, which will be in India's interest.
Aung San Suu Kyi's victory is crucial to India's Act East policy, as it could lead to seamless progress in many of the large connectivity projects funded by India in Myanmar. India has crushed many militant groups in the Northeast, but they find refuge in Myanmar, which can be controlled by Suu Kyi's new regime and this
There can be socio-economic development in the Northeast. Suu Kyi is considered close to India, as she had her higher education in Delhi. Later, when the army detained him, India also helped him indirectly.
China supported Myanmar's military alliance in the 2015 general election, but this time it is openly supporting the pro-democracy Aung San Suu Kyi. Chinese government officials continue to have difficulty convincing Myanmar generals, while pro-democracy NLD leaders may be resilient. In recent years, Suu Kyi's party has been close to China to deal with the Rohingya conflict and obtain financial support.
China wants Myanmar to approve several projects for its belt and road project. India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Army Chief MM Narwane met Suu Kyi in October last and held talks on security issues. He gifted Kilo-class submarine-INS Sindhuveer to the Myanmar Navy to boost naval relations. She will now lead the NLD, which will have to keep the army on its side and India's initiative may succeed.
Despite the victory in elections, Suu Kyi will have to struggle to balance with military rule. They will have to balance relations with India and China, as India-China relations are going bad due to Chinese aggression. Thirdly, China, and Myanmar have agreements for several infrastructure projects. These projects are linked to the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which is part of Beijing's huge Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Suu Kyi will have to consider these projects carefully, as India is opposed to the BRI, which is a part of China's expansionist policy in Asia.
India has built a port in Myanmar and tasked private sector companies to build highways to the Thai border in Myanmar, but India neither has the money nor the equivalent of China to make an impact in another country. The same aggressive, opaque leadership as that. But now New Delhi is serious about bringing Myanmar under Indo-Pacific construction. Myanmar's entry into the India-Pacific initiative will prove to be part of a 'successful strategy'. However, the issue of Rohingya repatriation, to which Bangladesh is also linked, could become a problem between India and Myanmar.
Suu Kyi is facing charges of genocide at the Hague's International Court of Justice on the Rohingya issue, although he has denied the charge. After massive persecution, millions of Rohingyas took refuge in Bangladesh and India. Overall, India's policy of encouraging democratic forces may yield better results, which may help strengthen ties with Suu Kyi and the military and reduce China's influence.