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Conference Paper:China’s Myanmar and Bangladesh policy and India’s Border Security by Mr.PM Heblikar

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CSF-SICCSL RRU-NMF Conference on

Xi Jinping's third term: Implications for Global Order & India




PM Heblikar retired as Special Secretary, Government of India in September 2010 after over 38 years of service. He is currently Managing Trustee, Institute of Contemporary Studies Bangalore (ICSB) – a not for profit think tank specializing in security and strategic affairs. He is a Member of the Managing Committee of the Centre for National Security Studies (CNSS), a Bangalore based think-tank established in collaboration between Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) Bangalore and Army Training Command (ARTRAC). Ministry of Defense, Government. He is a Life Member of the United Service Institution (USI), New Delhi.


He is a former Visiting Professor at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, Manipal and an Adjunct Faculty, Institute of Security and Strategic Studies Program (ISSSP) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore. Besides, he is associated with the Christ University, Bangalore and St. Josephs College, Bangalore in developing a new approach to study of contemporary developments. He was also associated with the Asia Centre, Bangalore, the Takshashila Institute, Bangalore and Synergia Foundation, Bangalore.


In October 2021, he was appointed as Emeritus Visiting Faculty at the School of International Cooperation, Strategic Languages and Security, Rastriya Raksha University (RRU). In March 2022, he helped create a digital platform called Strategic Studies Forum comprising five India based think-tanks to focus exclusively on China from a national security perspective.


PM Heblikar is closely associated with the private security industry of India in several ways through his company set up in December 2011 (www.maxgridsecuricor.com). It has several verticals and operates Pan-India and has close connections to like-minded entities in India’s immediate neighborhood, Southeast Asia and Africa. In April 2015, he was appointed Director on the Board of Singapore based Asian Dialogue Society (www.asiandialogue.com). He is a Certified Information and Security Practitioner (CISP) from International Institute of Security and Safety Management (IISSM), New Delhi.


He was decorated by the Government of India for Meritorious and Distinguished Service respectively. He is also recipient of several commendations during his career. He was educated in Bangalore – St Joseph’s College, Bangalore and Bangalore University.



Abstract


During the course of my presentation, I will try to briefly assess the changing contours of China’s strategic partnership with Myanmar and Bangladesh under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. I would also like to look at India’s border security.


I will begin by making a few preliminary remarks on the China-Myanmar relations prior to 2013. I will rewind back to the early 80’s when the CCP, under Deng, launched its “Look South Policy” which envisaged linking China’s poorest Yunnan province with the Bay of Bengal through then Burma now Myanmar. The “Irrawaddy short cut route” (ISR) is the precursor to what western analysts’ now refer to as the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMPEC).


ISR was one of the several strategies devised by the CCP to link China to the Indian Ocean. Like Pakistan to India’s west, Myanmar is the major source of comprehensive Chinese attention. Unlike Pakistan, Myanmar has not succumbed to the machinations of the CCP and its leadership and it is evident in some ways even today. During the course of my presentation, we will look at some aspects of XNP’s policy towards Myanmar.


Unlike Myanmar, the arc of diplomatic relations between China and Bangladesh has been different ever since 1971. It was a slow start due to the realities of the then changed equations on the Indian Subcontinent. BD had to endure Chinese veto on its UN membership until 1974 despite the support of the international community. Importantly, under a new dispensation BD withdrew from the Indo-Soviet cold war axis. BD-China established diplomatic relations in 1976 after the military coups and assumption of power by Zia Ur Rehman. BD market economy opened the doors for rapid Chinese engagement.


XJP visited Dhaka in October 2016, it was the first visit by a Chinese President in three decades and it was remarkable for the results especially opening BD infrastructure sector to Chinese aid and assistance. It was a landmark one owing to multiple factors. In addition to Myanmar, China had added BD to its “Look South Policy”.


The stability and safety of India’s northeast region is a matter of priority for its security managers and strategic community. This can be viewed under two broad categories namely; Look East Policy and Act East Policy.


“Foreign intervention” or “external influence” in this region have been a major concern for India. China and Pakistan utilised “friendly” regimes in Yangon and Dhaka to take forward their policies to destabilise India. We will look at several aspects during the period 1990-2010 and 1976-2006 in Myanmar and Bangladesh respectively. We will also look at possible policy options.


Read the full Conference paper at this link:

China's Myanmar and Bangladesh policy and India's Border Security
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( Mr PM Heblikar is a Former Special Secretary, GoI. The views expressed by the author do not reflect the views of C3S.)

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