Though the country’s foreign relations, particularly with Western nations, have been strained, relations have thawed since the reforms following the 2010 elections. After years of diplomatic isolation and economic and military sanctions, the United States relaxed curbs on foreign aid to Myanmar in November 2011 and announced the resumption of diplomatic relations on 13 January 2012 The European Union has placed sanctions on Myanmar, including an arms embargo, cessation of trade preferences, and suspension of all aid with the exception of humanitarian aid.
The relations with European countries
Sanctions imposed by the United States and European countries against the former military government, coupled with boycotts and other direct pressure on corporations by supporters of the democracy movement, have resulted in the withdrawal from the country of most US and many European companies. On 13 April 2012 British Prime Minister David Cameron called for the economic sanctions on Myanmar to be suspended in the wake of the pro-democracy party gaining 43 seats out of a possible 45 in the 2012 by-elections with the party leader, Aung San Suu Kyi becoming a member of the Burmese parliament.
The relations with Asia corporations
Despite Western isolation, Asian corporations have generally remained willing to continue investing in the country and to initiate new investments, particularly in natural resource extraction. The country has close relations with neighbouring India and China with several Indian and Chinese companies operating in the country. Under India’s Look East policy, fields of co-operation between India and Myanmar include remote sensing, oil and gas exploration, information technology, hydro power and construction of ports and buildings.
In 2008, India suspended military aid to Myanmar over the issue of human rights abuses by the ruling junta, although it has preserved extensive commercial ties, which provide the regime with much-needed revenue. The thaw began on 28 November 2011, when Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and his wife Ludmila arrived in the capital, Naypyidaw, the same day as the country received a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who also met with pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. International relations progress indicators continued in September 2012 when Aung San Suu Kyi visited to the US followed by Myanmar’s reformist president visit to the United Nations.