Bayonets and gas

Bayonets and gas

Authoritarian regimes are not only bad business partners but even worse for a nation’s credibility. India would do well to stop trying to deal with the generals in charge of Myanmar, even as street protests for democracy have started afresh.

India has been clueless in its dealings with Myanmar. The military junta there wants India’s political support in exchange for access to its gas reserves. The inevitable result of this running with dictators and hunting gas has been a disaster, one that the mandarins in South Block refuse to acknowledge.

Not only has India lost credibility as a champion of democracy but has also ceded precious ground to China in its neighbourhood.

Sunday’s massive protest by thousands of monks may not dislodge the generals, but it does foretell things to come. The one person in Myanmar who has solid democratic credentials, Aung San Suu Kyi, deserves better from India. That’s the way for India to gain a lasting foothold in Myanmar.