Myanmar Parliament that took place in 2010. The military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) swept the polls. The immediate past President Thein Sein came to the scene in place of Than Shwe and the reform process started gaining momentum. The media was also moderately freed from the clutches of censorship.Journalist Das was however apprehensive about Nobel laureate Suu Kyi’s roles in the Htin Kyaw led Myanmar government at NayPieTaw, as she might face an uphill task to deal with the Burmese armed forces (popularly known as Tatmadaw). Moreover, the 2008 Burma Constitution, which prevented her to become the President of the country, cannot be changed without the support of more than 75 percent lawmakers.At the same time, it is noticeable that the Burmese armed forces have 25 percent Parliamentarians reserved in both the houses of Myanmar Parliament. Myanmar’s lower house of Parliament (locally known as House of Representatives or Pyithu Hluttaw) has 440 seats, where 110 Army candidates got appointed by the commander-in-chief of Tatmadaw.Similarly, the upper house of Parliament (known as House of Nationalities or Amyotha Hluttaw) has 224 seats, where 56 military personnel were nominated by the Tatmadaw chief.
With more to it, the ministries of defence, home affairs and border affairs are kept under the control of the military. Hence, the Yangon based analyst argued that the Myanmar’s new foreign minister Suu Kyi, for the time being, might embrace the Tatmadaw as a partner in the process of democratization of her country.Speaking about the opportunity of northeast India’s virtual capital Guwahati as a health, education and tourism hub, the journalist turned an expert on political affairs commented that the political will and supports from the locals would be essential to materialize the dream.He also insisted that the Myanmar government should open a diplomatic office in Guwahati and a direct flight from the city to either Mandalay or Yangon be operated for the benefit of the commuters.He however did not to forget to mention about various challenges in chasing the dream as a number of militant outfits from northeast India were still taking shelter in the jungles of northern Myanmar. The rebel outfits are also reportedly enjoying China’s inherent supports. As Beijing remains influential to the Myanmar government till now, the northeastern militants may continue enjoying the privileges there for some more years.However, it seems to be difficult for the militant outfits including Paresh Barua run United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) to achieve much from their hideouts in Myanmar, even though the militants from the region recently formed an umbrella of insurgent outfits named United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia.Earlier addressing the Shillong meet, titled as India- Myanmar Media Dialogue, former Indian ambassador to Myanmar Rajiv Bhatia argued that the media, strategic community, academia and civil society should come together and collaborate in the initiative to understand India's immediate eastern neighbours. Bhatia also referred to several achievements in Myanmar since the reforms were initiated by the President Thein Sein.The Institute of Social Sciences director Ash Narain Roy emphasized on more media representation in the bilateral initiatives primarily focusing on the borders areas of India and Myanmar. The Burma Centre Delhi director Alana Golmei also supported his views claiming that the meaningful interaction between the scribes of both the countries would help in the practice of capacity development and partnership.Khin Zaw Win, who came from Myanmar, expressed hope that the media in both the countries can help boosting ties between the two neighbours.The Tampadipa Institute of Myanmar director also commented that the Act East Policy, adopted by New Delhi should be helpful to the people of Indo-Myanmar border areas. Award winning Myanmarese journalist Ester Htu San commented that the Indian media has better opportunities to be more visible in her country.
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Nava Thakuria, who serves as a Special Correspondent for The Seoul Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the globe, and can be contacted at email@example.com
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