China and India will dominate Myanmar’s foreign policy stage, and their dealings with the rest of ASEAN will grow during 2018. Sandwiched between two active Asian giants, Nay Pyi Taw will have to balance its relations carefully as India and China vie with each other for greater influence. Most importantly, Myanmar must avoid being sucked into conflict zones in their common areas of influence and know how to duck whenever these two confront one another.
In the months and years to come, the crisis in Rakhine State will remain a key area where Beijing and New Delhi will continue to compete, displaying goodwill to help their troubled neighbour. Furthermore, they will try to mitigate any repercussions from the growing international condemnation of its handling of the crisis and the myriads of problems caused by the massive exodus to Bangladesh, which is now estimated to number 750,000 people. The international community will continue to step up pressure on Myanmar to accelerate efforts to repatriate more displaced people. But the real problems on the ground still need to be overcome.
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