May 25, 2012




Reports from Myanmar indicate that during his visit to Myanmar next week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be meeting Aung San SuuKyi at Yangon (Rangoon) on May 29,2012. She has reportedly re-scheduled a visit to Bangkok, her first visit abroad since her release from house-arrest, in order to be available at Yangon for meeting our Prime Minister.

2. This gesture of hers is indicative of the importance attached by her to Myanmar's relations with India despite her past unhappiness over India's close relations with the military junta that ruled the country till the end of 2010.

3. The Prime Minister's visit comes at a time when there are reports of spreading public unrest over severe power-cuts in many towns. The unrest in the form of street demonstrations first started in Mandalay and from there has since  spread to Pegu, Monywa and Yangon.The protesters have not taken the permission of the Police for holding demonstrations which is an offence, but the Government has chosen to ignore the violation of the law in order not to provoke them further. The protesters have been using their restricted access to Facebook and Twitter to call upon people in other towns to demonstrate.

4.It is not yet clear whether the street demonstrations are spontaneous or have been instigated by anti-democracy hawks in the Army to weaken the position of the TheinSeinGovernment which has been steadily moving towards greater political reforms and opening-out to the world.

5.However, in an attempt to project the demonstrations as spontaneous, the protesters have accused  the former military government  of selling off natural gas reserves to China and pocketing the profits, while  75 per cent of the local people have no access to electricity. Electricity consumption in  Myanmar averages 104 kilowatts an hour per person—one of the lowest in the world.

6.Speaking during the opening of a local office of her National League For Democracy (NLD) on May 22,2012, SuuKyi said that the  power shortages were the  direct result of government mismanagement and called upon the Government  to give priority to increasing the power supply and to creating jobs for the unemployed youth.

7.The Government announced  on May 23  that it was purchasing  six generators from U.S.-based Caterpillar Inc., which will be air-freighted within a week, and two 25-megawatt gas-turbines to be bought from General Electric Co. The Government has blamed the Kachin insurgency for severely damaging electricity production and distribution.

8.During his visit, our Prime Minister should offer to help the Myanmar Government on an emergency basis to increase the power supply and also gift a plane-load of generators of the required capacity needed by the Government. The Prime Minister could also offer a special credit to enable the Government to repair the damages to the power infrastructure. ( 26-5-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )



Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
This is where the difference lies. you have very subtly attempted to insinuate that VKS is not a capable man. your credentials? You have been a member of the world famous bureaucracy that has at least allowed to fester, if not been the reason for all, ills India faces today. The trust that you talk about, its now only a joke, no common man trusts the govt or likes of you. Is calling a spade a spade wrong? Sure it is for people who expect undue largesse for them and their ilk after retiring, certainly VKS is an aberration in your world view. Dear sir, you also know how many people love and respect him as compared to the previous chiefs. Certainly an honest man had to suffer in a world run by MMS and AMS. What a pity, judge of SC says "blow with the wind", and likes of you sit in judgement on somebody like Gen VK Singh.

A. Shah said...

The article deal with Burma not VKS.

So Mr. "Anonymous", care to enlighten us the connection between Burma and VKS?

What are you smoking?

A. Shah

Anonymous said...

Prabu, Coimbatore

The ANONYMOUS was talking about an otehr post by RAMAN. ANONYMOUS is very right ! and RAMANis wrong here atleast, by calling VKS does not have leadershp quality. VKS is honest to teh core, brave and has doen so much to teh Indian army and will go in teh history as a HERO ! Thanks to VKS so many pending decisions has been fast tracked by MOD and GOI. By criticising RAMAN has only gone down to the low level and seems supporting traitors. strange as it looke to me ! Next BJP/Modi govt should fix all loope hole s in army purchase system ! Jai Hind !

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