Britain, Relations with

   Although Britain was Burma's colonial ruler and presided over the introduction of Western influences in many areas of life, including widespread use of the English language, post-independence ties have not been as close as in the case of many other former British colonies, because Burma elected to remain outside the British Commonwealth of Nations and the country became isolated after Ne Win established the Revolutionary Council in 1962. Britain provided military assistance under the 1947 Bo Let Ya-Freeman Defence Agreement, but it was abrogated in 1954. Colonial-era British firms, such as the Bombay Burma Trading Company, the Irrawaddy Flotilla, and Burma Oil, were nationalized. Other countries, especially Japan and West Germany, surpassed Britain in the amount of foreign aid given, especially during the 1970s and 1980s. After the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) seized power in September 1988, aid from Britain was suspended, except for humanitarian purposes, and successive governments in London have condemned the post-1988 regime's violations of human rights. During and since the Democracy Summer in 1988, the Burmese-language service of the public British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has provided radio listeners within the country with a much-needed alternative to the official mass media.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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