Over two and a half years since the 2021 military coup, the Indo-Pacific region struggles to mount an effective response to the crisis in Myanmar. Despite the efforts of three ASEAN chairs to implement the body’s five-point consensus, the level of violence and frequency of atrocities has only increased, humanitarian access remains limited, and fighting has spread to nearly every state and region. Since December 2022, China has dramatically deepened its unilateral interference in the Myanmar conflict, generating new strategic concerns for the United States, India and the Indo-Pacific more broadly. A range of other security threats, including rising refugee flows, cross-border health impacts and an uptick in drug production have resulted in rising challenges for Myanmar’s neighbours. Most threatening of all has been the unprecedented growth of transnational organised crime in the country, with known criminal groups taking over control of significant territories along Myanmar’s borderlands.
The US and India have a shared interest in addressing these growing security threats, and especially in checking the prospects of the Myanmar issue destabilising the Bay of Bengal as Chinese influence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State deepens. Yet efforts by American and Indian think tanks to explore how the US-India partnership might contribute to a solution have been limited. With this in mind, the United States Institute of Peace and the Observer Research Foundation have co-organised a closed-door discussion to be held in New Delhi on August 22.