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On the path of change: Political, economic and social challenges for Myanmar

By Peter Chalk

The Abbott government has a vested interest in assisting Myanmar overcome its challenges. Helping secure the country’s rehabilitation by ensuring a successful transition to civilian rule will open up a lucrative investment market, possibly help to stymie the production and trafficking of heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants and provide the necessary conditions for professionalising what has hitherto been a highly abusive defence structure.

In this Special Report, Peter Chalk outlines several ways that Australia can support Myanmar's further development in the political, economic, domestic security fields and engage with Myanmar's military, placing a premium on professional military education and modernisation.

Canberra could also consider leveraging Australia’s seat on the UN Security Council, as well as its exceptionally close diplomatic relationship with the US, to work with ASEAN in pushing for an end to all American trade and financial sanctions against Myanmar. Moving quickly to support Myanmar in these areas is important, not least because of the criticality of 2014, when it takes over the chairmanship of ASEAN.