Challenges & Way-forward



Bilateral trade:  India sees Myanmar as being vital to fulfilling its ambition to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024. But with a total bilateral trade of $2 billion, India’s economic engagement with Myanmar lags behind China.


Rohingya Crisis:  Delhi could not take a hard-line approach on Naypyidaw vis-à-vis the Rohingya issue, even keeping its distance when Myanmar was hauled into the International Court of Justice over accusations of Rohingya genocide.


China’s Investments in Myanmar:

  • China’s relationship with Myanmar is extractive in nature. It already has an oil and gas terminal near Bay of Bengal coast.
  • China is going to build Special Economic Zone. Now it is asking for controlling stake in a natural deep sea harbor at Kyaukpyu that could form part of its ambitious BRI


Issue of Border Security:

  • The Indian insurgent groups with bases in Myanmar remain a matter of concern
  • Over the years, the India-Myanmar border has become the main conduit for the trafficking of arms and drugs from Myanmar.


Slow Pace of Development Projects

Connectivity/ infrastructure projects like the Trilateral Highway, the Kaladan Multi-modal Transport and Transit Project are long drawn due to security complications.



  • Delicate Balancing On Rohingya Issue
    • The balancing act between Myanmar and Bangladesh remains one of the keys to India’s overall approach to Rohingya issue.
    • By positioning as playing an active role in facilitating the return of Rohingya to Myanmar, India has made it clear that, it supports Myanmar’s efforts and also understands Bangladesh’s burden.
    • The quicker the Rohingya issue is resolved, the easier it will be for India to manage its relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh, focusing instead more on bilateral and sub-regional economic cooperation.
  • Non-Interference in Internal Politics
    • The political logic that has shaped India’s Myanmar policy since the 1990s has been to support democratization driven from within the country.
    • This has allowed India to engage with the military that played a key role in Myanmar’s political transition.
    • Converting our investments in the trilateral highway and the kaladan projects to fuller trade and investment corridors.
    • A broader development partnership to the grassroots with the help of civil society.
    • New political approach to the Indian Insurgent Groups issue beyond the intelligence-based approaches.