Despite a promising start after independence, bilateral relations between India and Myanmar have had a long history of mutual neglect and obliviousness. This paper revisits the developments since the end of colonial rule and points out crucial historical landmarks. Further, the most important policy issues between the two nations are discussed. The focal point of the analysis is the question of whether one can expect new directions in the bilateral relationship since the election of new governments in India in 2014 and in Myanmar in 2015.
Narendra Modi’s overwhelming election victory has brought with it expectations of fast and noticeable improvements in the living conditions of hundreds of millions of Indians. The main focus of the new government is, therefore, the economic development of India, which is also one of the two leading guidelines for Modi’s foreign policy. The other major concern for the new government is the relationship with China. Modi’s success or failure in these two areas of India’s foreign policy will determine the country’s future role as a great power in global politics.