Burma in the Balance: The Geopolitics of Gas

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  • July 2007

    A new great game is under way in Myanmar. The huge offshore gas findings stretching from the borders of Bangladesh down to Thailand have resulted in a flurry of diplomatic manoeuvring with China, Thailand and other ASEAN countries as well as United States, India, the European Union, Australia and Russia all playing key roles. The equations are bound to change and many countries, for fear of losing influence with Yangon, are seeking a more 'pragmatic' approach. As a result, the ruling regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SDPC), saturated with natural gas, finds itself at the centre of unexpected attention and unaccustomed wooing. Whether it be the Sino-Indian economic contests and resource competition in the Burmese gas sector or Thailand's increasing interest and growing influence in Myanmar, together this presents important leverage points for the SPDC, which has no doubt made it easier for the regime to withstand pressure for political reforms.