India - Myanmar Relations

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by arnabmit, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Indian Army gifts 7 bailey bridges to Myanmar Army | idrw.org

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    In a move to provide a vital fillip to the relationship between the two historic neighbours – India and Myanmar – the Indian Army yesterday handed over seven Bailey bridges to the Myanmar Army at Leimakhong army headquarter, about 20 km north of Imphal.

    The General Officer Commanding Spears Corps Lt Gen AK Sahni, handed over the sevenBailey bridges to Commander Major General Soe Lwin of North West Command at Leimakhong.

    “We are taking up this as a Prime Minister’s initiative for the development of border infrastructure”, said Lt Gen Sahni. “This will help in meeting the aspiration of the people and also to ensure security along the Indo-Myanmar border”, he also said adding, “This gesture by India will go a long way in providing a vital fillip to the relationship between the two historic neighbours.

    The step has been taken as part of the 3rd Indo-Myanmar Regional Border Committee Meet between India and Myanmar held under the aegis of Spears Corps of Indian Army at Leimakhong from July 23-25. The meeting was attended by high ranking officials from both the countries.

    The Border Committee Meet is a landmark event which provides an opportunity for representatives of security forces and government officials of both nations to discuss and resolve crucial issues relating to border management, bi-lateral cooperation and counter-terrorism strategy.
     
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  3. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Myanmar naval chief visits India to strengthen bilateral maritime ties | idrw.org

    Myanmar’s Chief of Naval Staff , Vice Admiral Thura Thet Swe, met his Indian counterpart Admiral D.K. Joshi here on Monday to strengthen relations between the navies of the neighbouring countries.

    During his visit, Vice Admiral Thura Thet Swe is scheduled to meet Defence Minister A.K Antony.

    Admiral Joshi said that this meet would take forward the strong naval relations between the two countries.

    “Myanmar is one of our closest neighbours, we share land borders with them and also maritime borders and on the navy to navy front we have had extremely cordial relations and excellent interaction and during the course of our meeting here we will look at further avenues of taking this interaction to the next level,” he said.

    India shares a 1,645-kilometre border in its east with Myanmar.

    “I hope for closer ties with Indian navy,” Vice Admiral Thura Thet Swe said.

    India is also seeking Myanmar’s help in combating insurgent groups that have bases in Myanmar, and hopes that cross-border trade will boost the economy of its troubled and isolated northeast region.
     
  4. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Myanmar Navy seeks arms from India | idrw.org

    In a sign of growing proximity in military sphere, Myanmar on Monday sought naval arms assistance from India.The request came from Myanmar Navy’s Commander-in-Chief Vice Admiral Thura Thet Swe, who began a four-day visit to New Delhi by meeting with Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi and Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur.

    Vice Admiral Swe also met Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh and Indian Air Force Vice Chief Air Marshal Arup Raha. Among others, Myanmar sought help in building offshore patrol vessels and supply of naval sensors and other military equipment to build a formidable navy.

    Vice Admiral Swe discussed with Admiral Joshi various proposals for strengthening the navy-to-navy cooperation in operations, training and material support. He also proposed to take the existing relationship to another plane and promote capacity building and capability enhancement, an Indian Navy release said.

    In a media interaction during a Guard of Honour for the visiting dignitary in the South Block forecourt, Admiral Joshi described Myanmar as “one of the closest neighbours”. “We share a land border as well as a maritime border with them. On the navy-to-navy front, we have had extremely cordial relations,” he said. He also noted that the Indian Navy was looking forward to taking the existing “excellent” interaction to the next level. Vice Admiral Swe stressed the special ties between the navies of the two countries.

    In the second leg of his trip, he will visit the Kochi-based Southern Naval Command on Tuesday and inspect various training schools and facilities there. On Wednesday, he will visit the Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command also.

    Indian Navy has been assisting Myanmar to better its capacity in the maritime warfare domain for several years now. India has given Myanmar four Islander maritime patrol aircraft in the last decade, despite threats from the UK of sanctions as Yangon, which was then ruled by the military junta, was a no-go area for the western powers.

    Myanmar has in the recent years sought help in building offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), but the Indian Government is yet to approve supply of these naval warships. India is also yet to receive the exact requirements of the Myanmar Navy for the OPVs, be it design or capability specifications.

    Indian Navy already trains around 50 Myanmar Navy personnel of all ranks at its training institutions.

    During the meetings, Vice Admiral Swe gave a list of naval equipment his country might require in the near future, including items indigenously developed by India such as maritime sensors.

    Earlier this year, the navies of both countries for the first time launched coordinated patrols along their maritime borders in the Bay of Bengal against poachers, smugglers and other sea criminals.

    Both navies regularly hold joint exercises in the maritime domain, including the one held off Visakhapatnam in March, when a frigate and a corvette from Myanmar visited the Indian port. Naypyidaw also sent at least one of its warships to Port Blair for the biennial Milan joint exercise of navies.
     
  5. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Myanmarese Navy chief visits training facilities in Kochi | idrw.org

    A day after he made a pitched plea in New Delhi for supply of more military hardware by India, Myanmar’s Navy chief Vice-Admiral Thura Thet Swe made a visit to Indian Navy’s Southern Naval Command (SNC) in the city.

    Vice-Admiral Swe called on Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding in-Chief of SNC, Indian Navy’s training command, on Tuesday. Later in the day, he toured the training facilities at INS Dronacharya, Indian Navy’s missile and gunnery school, which has so far trained naval personnel from 28 countries including Myanmar.

    The Myanmarese Navy chief also visited Cochin Shipyard, where India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier is being built. In a press note, the Indian Navy said it “already trains about 50 Myanmarese Navy personnel of all ranks at its training institutions”.

    The Indian Navy had previously showered its largesse on Myanmar towards the end of the last decade when it defied a United Kingdom embargo to offer four of its British-origin Islander maritime recce aircraft, which were operating as part of Indian Naval Air Squadron 550 under naval air station Garuda in Kochi.

    The Islanders were on the verge of retirement from the force when they were gifted to Myanmar’s then Junta regime, much to U.K.’s dismay.

    This time around, Myanmar has made an open plea for assistance in constructing offshore patrol vessels (OPV). Vice-Admiral Swe is slated to visit some more naval training institutions in Kochi before leaving for Indian Navy’s Eastern Command in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.
     
  6. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    India to assist Myanmar military | idrw.org

    Plans are underway for India to assist Myanmar in building offshore patrol boats and increase its military training.The move follows talks between the visiting Myanmar navy chief Admiral Thura Thet Swe and Indian defence officials.Over the last several years, India has been building deeper economic and military linkages with Myanmar.

    Their long relationship built under British rule was disrupted when international sanctions were applied against the military regime in 1988.

    Professor Brahma Chellaney from the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi says with international sanctions being lifted, India’s strategic space vis a vis Myanmar has now increased.

    “India now can cooperate more closely with Myanmar and they can actually engage Myanmar more constructively,” Mr Chellaney said.

    “All these developments have actually allowed India to strengthen its cooperation with Myanmar.

    Dr John Blaxland, senior fellow at the Strategic and Defence Study Centre at the Australian National University, says Myanmar must move cautiously so as not to upset China which sees its influence over Naypidaw reducing.

    “They know that China is not all that happy about Myanmar finding many other friends,” Dr Blaxland said.

    “The level of influence has been challenged by the influx of american interest, India’s interest.

    “Naypidaw has had to play a very careful balancing act…They’re happy to take Indian support, Indian collaboration and cooperation but only to a point,” he said.

    Mr Chellaney says Myanmar which was forced into a close relationship with China because of international sanctions is now reasserting its autonomy and nationalism.

    “For them, closer engagement with India is an important means of regaining that autonomy,” he said.

    Mr Chellaney says India also stands to benefit from assisting Myanmar.

    “For India, closer engagement with Myanmar is a very important instrument to build regional security,” he said.
     
  7. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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  8. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    India steps up military aid to Myanmar to offset China’s might | idrw.org

    From rocket launchers to Islander maritime patrol aircraft, wargaming software to counter-insurgency training, India is steadily stepping up military aid to Myanmar to counterbalance the deep strategic inroads made by China into that country.

    During his ongoing visit to Myanmar, Army chief General Bikram Singh has held talks with President U Thein Sein, foreign minister U Wunna Maung Lwin, commander-in-chief of the defence services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, among others, to discuss measures to further bolster bilateral defence cooperation.

    “Myanmar is very keen to expand its defence ties with India in terms of supply of military equipment and spares, training and border cooperation. The country has agreed to base an Indian Army Training Team on its soil, on the lines of what we have with Bhutan, Botswana and others, in the near future,” said an official.

    India is providing rocket launchers, mortars, rifles, radars, night-vision devices, Gypsies, bailey bridges, communication and Inmarsat sets as well as road construction equipment like dozers, tippers and soil compacters to the Myanmarese armed forces.

    A unique gesture during Gen Singh’s visit was the handing over of two wargaming software packages called “Combat decision resolution” and “Infantry company commanders tactical trainer” customized for training of the Myanmarese Army as well as five hand-gliders for the Defence Services Academy at Pwin Oo Lwin.

    “India has also offered the Myanmarese armed forces special training packages in the Indian Army’s counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school at Vairengte in Mizoram. The Army alone already provides them over 100 vacancies every year in its different training establishments. The Navy and IAF, too, are chipping in with training,” said the official.

    “They are very keen on courses in mechanised forces like tanks and infantry combat vehicles, information technology, intelligence and English language, among other areas. The Myanmar Army chief will be visiting India from December 11 to 14,” he added.

    After disregarding China’s expanding footprint in Myanmar — the only Asean country with which India shares a 1,643-km land as well as a maritime border — New Delhi has been trying to play catch-up over the last few years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Naypyitaw in May 2012, the first such visit in 25 years, established the foundation for enhanced diplomatic, economic and military cooperation with Myanmar.

    Since then, defence minister A K Antony and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, also the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, have also visited Myanmar to cement the military ties. Even the western countries are now trying to engage with the Myanmarese military junta, withBarack Obama becoming the first US President to visit Naypyitaw last November.
     
  9. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Indian Army chief wraps up Myanmar visit with promise of further materiel, training | idrw.org
    SOURCE: Jane’s Defence Weekly

    Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh ended a four-day visit to Myanmar on 2 November that officials said was intended to augment bilateral defence ties and neutralise China’s formidable strategic relationship with Naypyidaw.

    Gen Singh discussed the possibility of India stepping up materiel supplies to Myanmar in meetings with senior political and military leaders, official sources told IHS Jane’s on 5 November.

    He is also believed to have agreed to Naypyidaw’s request to station an Indian Army Training Team (IATT) in Myanmar. This would be similar to Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) that has been operating in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan since 1960 and the IATTs established in Botswana and Lesotho in 1978 and 2001 respectively.
     
  10. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    India-Japan ‘Soft Power’ Cooperation in Myanmar
    There is scope for these two increasingly friendly countries to work together in Myanmar.

    With economic reform processes in place and an elected government since 2010, Myanmar is now considered Asia’s new frontier, or even its final frontier, as prospects for investment and international trade increase. Countries that had imposed sanctions in the past are now willing to invest and do business with Myanmar, which boasts abundant resources and an economy with enormous potential for growth.

    Many countries have already made inroads into Myanmar, with China leading the way. China’s influence is all pervasive, whether it be in trade, aid or infrastructure development. Yet China is now increasingly viewed as a hegemon and resentment towards Beijing appears to be mounting, with large sections of the Burmese population believing that China seeks to exploit Myanmar’s natural resources. Recent clashes in Kokang along the China-Myanmar border have complicated the bilateral relationship still further.

    Myanmar is now open for business, encouraging countries around the world to consider it as a strong destination for investment. Singapore, Japan and India, among others, are in the process of establishing an economic footprint in the Southeast Asian country. Two nations of particular importance to Myanmar are Japan and India, both Asian giants.

    Japan in Myanmar

    Although Japan – operating under U.S. pressure – applied sanctions during the rule of the junta in Myanmar, cutting its aid, Tokyo did not cut ties entirely. Through private diplomacy and individual connections, Tokyo maintained its networks with businesses and officials in Yangon and since 2005 with Naypyidaw, the new capital. Japan resumed aid to Myanmar when the junta was replaced with a civilian government. In fact, Japan has been a long-time donor to Mayanmar, which was the first recipient of Japanese reparations in Southeast Asia in 1954. That aid connection remained strong. When the civilian government came in power in Naypyidaw, Tokyo waived close to $3 billion in debt and committed to new loans for a range of infrastructure projects. A substantial amount of Japanese aid has been devoted to assisting with the development of the local rail system, health facilities, and other civic amenities.

    Meanwhile, Japan’s direct investment has been steadily rising in recent years, and indeed Japan is catching up with China. In 2013 for instance, Japanese investment in Myanmar was $55.7 million, not far behind China’s $56.9 million. Three Japanese banks – the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, and Mizuho Bank – recently won three of the nine licenses granted to foreign banks to operate in Myanmar. These three banks along with Japan’s aid agency, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be jointly developing the Thilawa Special Economic Zone just outside Yangon. JICA has a major presence in Myanmar with some thirty five employees and it appears Japanese aid to Myanmar will only rise, as Japanese corporations involved in development projects are likely to benefit.

    India’s Presence

    India has also been making steady inroads into Myanmar over the past decade. Bilateral trade, just over $1 billion in 2009, had risen to nearly $2 billion in 2013-2014. Estimates suggest that this figure may rise to $3 billion by 2015 and both sides are aiming to achieve an ambitious $10 billion by 2020.


    A number of Indian companies have also set up operations in Myanmar, including oil and gas players like the ONGC Videsh and GAIL. Banks such as the State Bank of India, Bank of India, and the Exim Bank of India have opened representative offices.

    Like Japan, India has not confined its relations to trade. New Delhi is assisting Myanmar in areas such as information technology, agriculture, and infrastructure. Recently, India offered to assist Myanmar in bolstering its trade training institutes, and to train Myanmar trade officials on WTO-related issues.

    While both Japan and India have an economic interest in Myanmar, even more significant is its strategic location. India’s Look East Policy – recently redubbed “Act East” by the current government – will be a non-starter without greater connectivity and robust relations with Myanmar. It is in this context that former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to Myanmar in 2012 – the first official visit by an Indian prime minister since 1987. Singh subsequently visited Myanmar in 2014, but that was in connection with the BIMSTEC Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Myanmar in 2014 to attend the East Asian Summit, and a bilateral visit is also likely soon.

    Soft Power Cooperation

    Meanwhile, India-Japan relations have strengthened over the past decade, and the scope has widened to include security and defence cooperation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in September 2014 and the warm reception he received from his host further illustrates the deepening of ties. .


    Both countries have strategic interests in Myanmar. Of course, any military cooperation has the potential to ratchet up tensions with China. But there is potential for India and Japan to explore other synergies in Myanmar.

    The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is investing $100 million in developing infrastructure in Northeast India, which will not just help in the development of that region but will also enhance connectivity with Myanmar.

    Looking beyond economics, assisting Myanmar, for example with institution-building and developing cultural assets – areas that might be considered to come under soft power – could serve the interests of both Japan and India in the long run and provide a useful platform for launching other form of cooperation, including economic. Both India and Japan could also help develop Myanmar’s information technical sector by establishing training institutions. Other possible areas could be the development of a Buddhist tourist circuit extending from Eastern India to Myanmar. Buddhism is an important link between the three countries, and Japan has already provided generous assistance for reviving the Nalanda University in Bihar. The two countries can also cooperate to develop world class research centers in Myanmar focussing on Buddhism.

    While a Japan-India partnership in a third country has yet to take shape, Myanmar could be a good place to start. In fact, it makes perfect sense given the increasing strategic congruence between India and Japan, and the fact that the nature of the assistance they provide is very similar, even if the scale is not.

    Purnendra Jain is Professor in Asian Studies at the University of Adelaide. Tridivesh Singh Maini is a Senior Research Associate with The Jindal School of International Affairs, Sonepat.
     

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