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  • 24 February, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

Military coup in Myanmar

Military coup in Myanmar


  • The military, which had shared power with Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) for five years, orchestrated the coup on February 1, hours before the country’s newly elected Parliament, in which the NLD had a huge majority, was set to convene.


  • The military, which controlled Myanmar through direct rule for almost 50 years since independence from Britain in 1948, has now deployed the familiar repressive tactics .
  • Tatmadaw has detained Ms. Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and several of the NLD’s other top leaders, suspended the Internet, blocked social networks and warned the public of repercussions if they joined protests.

Rising protests in demand for restoration of democratically elected government (Revival of the Saffron Revolution)

  • But protests have only grown by the day.
  • On Saturday, two unarmed protesters were killed by security forces in Mandalay.
  • They demand the Generals free the detained elected leaders and restore democracy.
    • Myanmar’s military has been one of the most consistent enemies of democracy.
  • In the past, challenges to its powers were met with brutal crackdowns. Still, the junta has continued to face popular resistance.
  • The crackdown on the protests of August 8, 1988 did not prevent the ‘saffron revolution’ of 2007protests led by Buddhist monks.
  • Than Shwe, the then leader of the country, suppressed them but had to offer a new Constitution in 2008 as a compromise.
  • This Constitution was the basis of the partial transition to democracy in 2015 when the NLD came to power.
  • The protesters have called for civil disobedience, stoppage of work, sit-ins and mass demonstrations.


  • The strike has already paralysed the banking system at a time when the economy, hit hard by COVID-19, is struggling to stand on its feet.
  • The military is also facing international sanctions and condemnation.
  • There is no easy way out for Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief and the coup’s main architect, from the crisis he has put himself in.

Way ahead

  • The Generals should realise that years of repression have not killed Myanmar’s aspirations for democracy.
  • They should not repeat 1988 or 2007. They should stand down, respect the election results, release the leaders and hand power back to the elected government.

Source: TH

  • 03 February, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

Military coup in Myanmar

Setback in Myanmar

Military coup in Myanmar

  • In one swift operation, Myanmar’s military establishment has wiped out a decade of the country’s democratisation process.
  • By arresting President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) leadership, and declaring military rule under a state of emergency for at least a year, General Min Aung Hlaing has made it clear that it is the military that is in charge, and he is not particularly concerned about the opposition to or condemnation of the move.

Reason for the coup

  • The immediate reason for the coup was that the newly elected National Assembly was due to meet in Naypyidaw on Monday, despite the Tatmadaw’s (Army’s) claims that the November general elections had several irregularities, and its contestation of the NLD’s landslide victory.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi had refused to bow to Gen. Hlaing’s demand that the results, which also saw the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party with a reduced strength in Parliament, be set aside.
  • Clearly, the Army, which still nominates a fourth of the parliamentary seats and retains the important Defence, Borders and Interior portfolios, felt it was better to dismiss the NLD government before it increased its clout.
  • Gen. Hlaing is due to retire this year, and it is possible that the move was meant to extend his longevity in power.
  • Backed by a silent Beijing, the junta leadership may also have gambled that it was better to take drastic action against the democratic leaders before the new U.S. administration finds its feet.

Suu Kyi’s lost opportunity

  • The return to Army rule was also helped to some extent by Ms. Suu Kyi, who came to office in 2015, but has lost opportunities to put her country more firmly on the road to democracy.
  • She has accepted a dual power system in the state.
  • Daw Suu, as she is known, has also failed to bring democracy to her party, and been criticised for her autocratic style.
  • Her refusal to rein in the Generals when the Tatmadaw unleashed a pogrom on the Rohingya between 2016-17, had lost the Nobel Peace laureate much international support.

Role of India

  • India had cultivated a careful balance, between nudging along the democratic process by supporting Ms. Suu Kyi, and working with the military to ensure its strategic interests to the North East and deny China a monopoly on Myanmar’s infrastructure and resources, the developments are unwelcome.

Step to be taken

  • The government will need to craft its response taking into consideration the new geopolitical realities of the U.S. and China as well as its own standing as a South Asian power, and as a member of the UN Security Council.


  • New Delhi’s immediate reaction, to merely express “deep concern” and counsel following the rule of law and democratic processes, is unlikely to suffice as a long-term strategy.

Source: TH

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