23 October, 2020

Holier Than...

In a clear pro-New Delhi policy turn, Myanmar's military leader sacks his PM before visiting India Updates

Narendra Bisht
Holier Than...
When Myanmar’s Senior General Than Shwe winged his way to Delhi on a six-day visit to India last week, it was for the first time in over a year the reclusive military leader was venturing abroad. That he should have chosen India to emerge from his cocoon isn’t coincidental. Days before the top military commander boarded the plane to New Delhi, a Yangon-based diplomat explained his decision thus, "Than Shwe wants to signal to Beijing that he is the man in control, not Prime Minister Khin Nyunt." Appointed 14 months ago as prime minister, Khin is considered one of the architects of the strong ties between Myanmar and China.

The inscrutable Than sprang a surprise a week before he flew down to India. He arrested the pragmatic Khin, abolished the National Intelligence Bureau that the PM headed, and named Lt Gen Soe Win as his successor. The purge cast a shadow over Than’s visit to New Delhi; even Indian officials in the region seemed embarrassed at the political twist in Myanmar. Than, however, insisted on visiting India, conveying unmistakably what his diplomatic signalling...



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