India has condemned the violence in Myanmar and grieved the loss of lives following the February 1 military coup in the country.
India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti made these remarks at the closed-door consultation on the situation in Myanmar at the UN Security Council meeting. In a tweet, Tirumurti said that he urged the country to apply maximum restraint, called for the release of detained leaders and expressed India’s commitment to democratic transition.
The envoy told the security council that the situation in Myanmar should be resolved peacefully and that the matter needs greater engagement.
Myanmar has been in a state of turmoil since the military took control of the country on February 1 and detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy.
Following the coup, demonstrators have taken to the street, protesting against the military and demanding the restoration of democracy. The army has intensified its crackdown, trying to take control of the situation by opening fire on protestors and imposing internet cuts and curfews.
On March 27, security forces killed over 90 people, as the country witnessed one of its bloodiest days of protests since the military coup.
Many Myanmar citizens have fled to India and Thailand, seeking refuge. More than 1,000 Myanmar nationals are reported to have entered Mizoram so far, according to IANS.
UN special envoy for Myanmar warns of possibility of civil war
At the meeting, UN special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener warned that there was a possibility of a “civil war” in the country and urged the council to take action to reverse the February 1 military coup, reported AP.
“This could happen under our watch and failure to prevent further escalation of atrocities will cost the world so much more in the longer term than investing now in prevention, especially by Myanmar’s neighbors and the wider region,” Burgener said in a virtual presentation obtained by AP.
The envoy also pointed out that the influx of refugees from Myanmar was ominous, reported PTI. “The regional security and economic consequences are getting worse and could deteriorate further,” she said. “The influx of refugees at the Indian and Thai borders and elsewhere is ominous and likely just the beginning.”
The envoy said that she intends to visit the area soon to continue her consultations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other leaders. “I firmly believe that no ASEAN countries or others sharing their borders with Myanmar would want a failed state as their neighbour,” she said.
Burgener also urged the council “to consider all available tools to take collective action” and “prevent a multidimensional catastrophe in the heart of Asia.” The envoy said that she was counting on regional actors to play their “unique and important roles to convince the military what they are aiming for will not work and help navigate an orderly and peaceful way out of this situation.”
She also denounced the killing and arrest of unarmed protesters in the country. At least 2,729 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup and an estimated 536 have been killed, she said, citing figures from Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners as of Wednesday.
A proposed press statement was not issued after the council meeting as China asked for additional time to consider its contents, several council diplomats said. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun warned the council that “one-sided pressure and calling for sanctions or other coercive measures will only aggravate tension and confrontation and further complicate the situation, which is by no means constructive.”
Aung San Suu Kyi expected to appear before a court
Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to appear for a hearing before a court on Thursday in connection with criminal charges imposed by the country’s military, reported the Hindustan Times. Suu Kyi has not been seen in public since she was detained.
Charges against her include breaching import and export laws and possession of unlawful communication devices, including walkie-talkies found at her home in Nay Pyi Taw. Officials have also accused her of bribery.
Suu Kyi’s lawyers dismissed accusations of bribery and also said the charges against the deposed leader have been trumped up. If Suu Kyi is convicted, she may not be able to run for elections in the country.