- Indo-Myanmar Relations in the Era of Pipeline Diplomacy
- Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 28, Number 3, December 2006
- pp. 424-446
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Over decades India and Myanmar had hardly any relations. To a large degree this was due to India's outdated model of Nehruvian ideals in its foreign policy formulation. Recent research, however, has pointed towards a shift in Indo-Burmese relations. This article analysse the reasons for such a shift, placing them in the larger context of the reframing of India's foreign policy objectives under the BJP-led NDA government in the late 1990s. These new priorities have been upheld by the Congress led government since the elections in 2004.
The article argues that the primary aim for such a shift was economic, as India reassessed its position globally and regionally, putting economic relations at the centre of its foreign policy formulation and engendering India's "pipeline diplomacy". It looks in detail at the geo-politics of energy and how energy security is now playing a major role in international relations in South Asia. It then describes India's energy needs, focusing in particular on gas, which is at the origin of the pipeline diplomacy and its increasing interest in relations with nations rich in gas and oil. It ends by assessing what impact India's pipeline diplomacy could have on the wider Southeast Asian region, with special regard to ASEAN.