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Mahendra Pande asked: Why Myanmar in recent years has become a key strategic partner for India, although during 80s and 90s India was very aloof about it?

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  • Udai Bhanu Singh replies: It is perhaps not apt to say that India had been aloof about Myanmar in the 1980s and 1990s. India has been finessing its policy vis-à-vis this geo-strategically significant ASEAN country. Our common experience of struggle against colonialism was carried over into the post-independence period as well. Then, as the realpolitik requirements of statecraft hit us, the sentimentalism of the freedom struggle era was shed (around 1993) in preference for a more pragmatic approach of dealing with the regime in power. Even then it must not be construed as an abandonment of India's principles (which include faith in democracy). However, whatever political system Myanmar obtains is entirely a matter of choice of its own people. As the transition to democracy began, India too came out in support of the process in Myanmar because it considers it a key strategic neighbour.