Bangalore International Centre had arranged a very interesting Talk on “Changes in Burma/Myanmar seen in a Geopolitical context” by Mr. BertilLintner, Journalist and Author on Friday, 15th February, 2013 at 6.30 PM at its auditorium. Mr. P M Heblikar, Managing Trustee of Institute of Contemporary Studies (ICSB), Bangalore moderated the discussion.
Mr. Lintner touched upon the issues concerning to isolation of Burma by the United States and the West because of concerns about democracy and human rights. It was "the China factor". Burma was becoming a vassal of China which was seen as a threat to the status quo and regional stability. At the same time, Burma's military was also concerned about China's growing influence and realised that it had to reach out to the West to avoid being absorbed by Chinese political, economic and strategic interests. But in order to "woo the West" they also realised that they had to liberalise the country's political system - but not in a way that would jeopardise their hold on power.
Mr. Lintner also touched upon the strategic thinking of the Chinese leadership to build up their economic strength in Asia and contrasted this with the short-sighted and half-hearted measures taken by India in furtherance of its so-called “look East” policy.
PratapHeblikar, who moderated the discussion, contributed significantly to the value of the interactive session with his insightful comments and observations.