`India edged out by US and China in Myanmar`

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to Myanmar is an attempt by India to secure its interests there after being "edged out" by the US and China.

Last Updated: May 24, 2012, 22:10 PM IST

Beijing: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to Myanmar this week is an attempt by India to secure its interests there after being "edged out" by the US and China, state media here said.

"With Myanmar`s new openness to the West, dominated by the US, and China`s ongoing influence in the nation, India has actually been edged out of the main stage," a write up in the state-run Global Times said.

"While both the US and China are doing whatever they can to gain the favour of economically struggling, strategically placed Myanmar. This is not a situation that India wants to see," it said.

China held sway over Myanmar in the last 15 years during the military dictatorship.

However, the situation changed drastically for Beijing after the entry of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

The write up said India is accelerating its investment in infrastructure development in Myanmar to compete with China, whose relationship with Myanmar became strained after the government of Myanmese President Thein Sein suspended construction in September 2011 of a dam being built with Chinese support.

Besides, India is closely monitoring whether the China-Myanmar relationship will take on a military dimension in case rumours about China attempting to build naval and intelligence facilities in Myanmar turn into reality, it said.

"Singh`s trip is an obvious sign of India picking up the pace to bolster bilateral ties," it said.

"As one of the big stakeholders in Myanmar, India is concerned about being neglected once the US has also joined the competition over the country," it said.

"It is in India`s interest to encourage Myanmar to take the current political reforms to their logical conclusion for free and fair elections in 2015, but whether it is in Myanmar`s interest to take India as a main ally still needs consideration," it said.

PTI