Burma and its neighbours: the geopolitics of gas

7 Nov 2006

Åshild Kolås & Stein Tønnesson of the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo note that offshore natural gas is now the major source of income for the Burmese military regime. A wider concern is the current Sino-Indian rivalry over Burmese natural gas from the Shwe field, which may give rise to further competition to assist the Burmese. While countries in the neighbouring regions - particularly India and Thailand, but also Australia and Japan - may have important roles to play, China wields far more leverage. For those who wish to influence Burma in a positive direction, it is therefore essential to consider ways that change could be stimulated with the active participation of China, whether through sanctions, constructive engagement and/or any form of dialogue.

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