In India’s neighbouring country Myanmar, its army has stormed the capital, detained the state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and taken control over the country in an apparent coup.
The army has also detained several other senior leaders along with Suu Kyi from the ruling party National League for Democracy.
In Myanmar capital Yangon, the Phone and mobile internet services were suspended. Military trucks carrying barbed-wire barriers, were parked outside City Hall. State-run MRTV television said it had been unable to broadcast. Banks were closed across the nation.
Military television later reported that the army had taken control of the country for one year, with power handed to commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing. It said the army had detained senior government leaders in response to fraud during last year’s general election.
The military’s action brought swift condemnation from leaders and human rights experts around the world.
US president Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, said in a statement: “The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.”
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the developments represented “a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar”.
Over the past week, there has been mounting concern that the military, which ran Myanmar – also known as Burma – for some 50 years until 2011, was preparing to retake power. The army has alleged widespread irregularities in November’s election, which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide victory. It said last week that a coup could not be ruled out, prompting the United Nations and several foreign missions in the country to express alarm.