Rakhine crisis: Lessons from Thailand

When Myanmar's commander-in-chief Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing was here last week for a series of top-level meetings with his Thai counterparts, the recent crisis in Rakhine state -- clashes between Myanmar authorities and Rohingya militants -- dominated the discussions both in Khon Kaen and Bangkok.

However, during his meeting on Thursday with Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, the level of comfort was so great that both sides dwelt at length on the Rakhine conflict, exchanging views extensively on the overall challenges. Thailand understands well Myanmar's position that it needs time and space to effectively manage and settle a sensitive issue that involves standards of living, communal and religious relations, as well as ethnic identity.

That is why Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing's trip this time concentrated on ways and means to mitigate the terrorist threat and strengthen cooperation with Thailand. Most importantly, they also touched on the way forward -- what will be the future of Myanmar and its relations with neighbouring countries and ethnic groups, say, in the next two or three decades?

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