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Wednesday Seminar | Swaying in the Middle: China in Myanmar's Peace Process | 20 March 2024 @ 3PM IST | Zoom Webinar

20 Mar 2024
Jayshree Borah
Venue: Zoom Webinar
Time: 3:00 PM

The longstanding internal conflict in Myanmar took a fresh turn with the launch of operation 1027 by the Three Brotherhood Alliance in late October 2023. The continuing fracas thereafter, has further complicated the peace process. China, due to its geographical proximity, economic interest, and ethnic ties, has long been an important external player, and the renewed conflict has made its presence more prominent. Beijing was able to get a “temporary ceasefire” inked between the Three Brotherhood Alliance, consisting of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Arakan Army (AA) and the military government of Myanmar. Although this deal did not prove to be successful, it testifies to the Chinese government’s sway over the conflicting parties in Myanmar. China’s interference, more often than not, complicates the peace dynamic in Myanmar. Beijing has been part of the peace-process in Myanmar since the days of the Thein Sein government in 2011. It has also negotiated peace-talks during the National League for Democracy government, negotiating between the Myanmar government, the military, and the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). However, the resurgence in the post-coup conflict suggests a possible shift in Chinese mediation. The seminar will analyse whether the initial close ties with Tatmadaw, and the subsequent dissatisfaction on account of the military government’s inability to co-operate on cybercrimes, have contributed to China’s interference in the peace-process? How is China responding to the EAOs post-coup scenario? Is it now adopting an “issue-based” approach, even as it locates itself as a mediator in Myanmar’s peace process?


About the Speaker

Jayshree Borah is currently a visiting researcher at the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi. She is also a Non-Residential Fellow, Hong Kong Research Centre for Asian Studies, Hong Kong. Her research delves into the non-Western theory of Peace-Building, with a special focus on non-democratic countries and provincial actors. Currently, she is working on a manuscript on Chinese Approach to Peace-building in Fragile Countries in South-East Asia. She holds a PhD from Shanghai International Studies University and an MPhil in East Asian Studies, from the University of Delhi. She was also a visiting fellow at the Chinese Language Department, Tezpur University. She was a consultant on projects ranging from China-South Asia relations, to Chinese Domestic Laws and Regulations in various organizations, including the Asian Century Foundation.


About the Chair

Ashok K. Kantha is an Honorary Fellow and former Director (2017-22) of the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi; a Distinguished Fellow at Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi; and Chair of the Core Group on China, of the Confederation of Indian Industry. A career diplomat, Kantha was Ambassador of India to China, from January 2014 to 2016. Prior to this, he was Secretary (East) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi with responsibility for about 65 countries in India’s extended neighbourhood. His previous assignments include High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Consul General in Hong Kong, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Kathmandu (Nepal). Earlier, Kantha served in different capacities at Indian Missions in Singapore, China, and the US, and at headquarters in New Delhi. In his diplomatic career spanning over 38 years, Kantha specialized in India’s neighbourhood and Asian affairs, with a particular focus on China. Apart from three assignments in China, he served as Joint Secretary (East Asia) and Director (China) at the Ministry of External Affairs for periods of four years each. He has an advanced certificate in Chinese language from National University of Singapore.


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