Myanmar and unity: Military Chief focuses on federalism and multi-party democracy
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The nation of Myanmar is on the path of consolidating multi-party democracy and is focused on reaching out to fellow Asia Pacific nations and further afield. In recent times, military talks and developments with China, India, and the Russian Federation are strengthening the armed forces. At the same time, economic developments with Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and others nations, highlight a bright future that awaits Myanmar. Therefore, the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, spoke positively during his speech on Armed Forces Day.
The Senior General focused heavily on federalism and multi-party democracy. Similarly, he commented that more than 130 diverse ethnic groups reside in the shared space of Myanmar and this fact goes back many decades.
He commented, “Among these ethnic groups, some number in the hundreds of thousands, while others have a population of just a handful. However, population is not the main issue, and all ethnic groups have equal rights under the Constitution. Although the majority believes in Buddhism, there is also freedom of worship for other religions. Thus, speech spreading disinformation must be restrained in relation to religion.”
The Senior General during his speech reminded people about important events in past Myanmar history, whereby foreign intrigues impacted on the nation. This applies to driving out the colonializing power of Britain, the intrigues of the CIA based on the Chinese Kuomintang that invaded eastern Myanmar, and the Islamist Bengali Muslim Mujahideen insurgency in Western Myanmar that was based on migration from Eastern Pakistan (Bangladesh). Hence, it could be stressed, even if the Senior General did not imply directly, that similar Western and Islamic intrigues are once more being directed at Myanmar.
Turning back to modern issues, the Senior Commander spoke of the need for all armed ethnic militias to abide by the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement by signing up. Equally important, he reiterated the need for armed insurgents to give up on unrealistic demands and instead focus on strengthening the federalist nature of Myanmar.
He said, “Instead of pointing to the past and finding fault… it’s time to learn the lessons of the past and to work for the country’s development.”
Overall, the Senior General emphasized federalism, multi-party democracy, the need to develop the nation in economic terms, for ethnic armed militias to sign up to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, and other important areas that will strengthen the nation-state. Hence, his speech provided a potent base to move forward on many fronts, while acknowledging past external threats to the nation.
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