The military brass of Myanmar taking over the country again in the early hours of February 1 may have surprised the world but it does not come as a shock. Five years of faux democracy have been brought to an end with the once revered leader and torchbearer of freedom for the Myanmarese, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, arrested again. A one-year state of emergency has been declared after the military took the reins back from an elected government and placed it squarely in the hands of Gen. Ming Aung Hlaing.
The reason given for the transfer of power is voter fraud in the elections held last November, which must be the weakest excuse and apparently taken right out of Donald Trump’s playbook. The toughest sanctions of the West on the feared "Generals" have had little effect historically but the US has minced no words in decrying the coup that mocks the winds of freedom that blew across the isolated country and led to Suu Kyi leading the first civilian government in half a century after a landslide victory for her party in 2015.
As a neighbour sharing a 1,600 km border with Myanmar, India must view the development with grave alarm as rebel groups of the northeast may be emboldened to carry out operations in India knowing they can seek refuge across the border more freely now. The coup adds to the feeling that there is some kind of domino effect around the region with neighbours willingly falling into China’s sphere of influence.
Myanmar’s generals, beholden to China for years for supporting their illegal military rule, will only be too pleased. Even the veneer of democracy in a country in which the army wrote the rule book to reserve 25 per cent of the seats for itself in parliament has been wiped out. We now fear even more for the fate of the Rohingyas, whose lot in genocidal tyranny got no sympathy from Suu Kyi though it cost her the shining knight image globally.