Sittwe Port developed by India under threat as war between Arakan Army and junta scales up in Myanmar



NEW DELHI: The rebel Arakan Army has captured a major part of Rakhine state in Myanmar after heavy fighting with the military junta. The civilian population is facing the brunt as a result of which India has issued an advisory. Sittwe Port, which India has developed, is in Rakhine state, part of the ambitious $484 million Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Project.”In view of the deteriorating security situation and disruption of means of telecommunications, including landlines and severe scarcity of essential commodities, all Indian citizens are advised not to travel to the Rakhine State of Myanmar. Those citizens who are already there are advised to leave the state immediately,” says the advisory issued by India.Though there isn’t a substantial Indian population in Rakhine state, the advisory indicates the crisis there. The clashes are a cause of concern as they are close to Sittwe Port. Situated at the mouth of Kaladan river, the port is a part of India’s ambitious, yet delayed, Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project. The last leg of the project hasn’t been completed due to the fighting between ethnic groups and the junta.Similarly, major Chinese investment projects in Ramree (Yanbye) Island are under threat due to the fighting.A humanitarian crisis has emerged after the Arakan Army seized two junta battalion headquarters in Mrauk U and Kyauktaw townships in Rakhine state.It may be recalled that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was in Dhaka this past weekend, leading to speculation about the challenges emerging due to the fighting between the Arakan Army and junta.Over 700 regime troops crossed into India since November, of which 300 crossed in January from Bandukba in Lawngtai District of Mizoram. Most soldiers were armed and sought shelter in a military establishment. Reports suggest that they were from Chin state.Junta troops have suffered since Operation 1027 by the Brotherhood Alliance on October 27 last year in Shan state. Many junta soldiers surrendered in Rakhine state, according to a source.Similarly over 100 soldiers have fled to Bangladesh’s Bandarban district.The Arakan Army has been targeting the junta across Rakhine state and Paletwa township in Southern Chin state since November 2023. They claim to have seized 170 junta positions.



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