StratNews Global had put out this detailed report on the growing India-Myanmar defence relationship earlier. The story also included reference to the transfer of a Kilo class submarine to the Myanmar Navy.
NEW DELHI: The high-profile visit of Indian Army Chief Gen MM Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Myanmar last week is expected to result in increased military and civil cooperation between India and Myanmar in the coming years even as China continues to cast a long shadow over the relationship.
Supply of military hardware by India to the Tatmadaw (the official name of the Myanmar armed forces) is being prioritised by New Delhi following the visit. India has agreed to supply 105 mm artillery guns, large quantity of ammunition for T-72 tanks, radars and sonars for ships of the fledgling Myanmar Navy and 500 bullet-proof jackets (BPJ). In fact, Gen Naravane presented two BPJs to his Myanmar counterpart during their meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, the country’s capital. Rest of the BPJs will of course be shipped along with other items soon.
India is also in the midst of completing the process of transferring a Kilo Class Submarine to Myanmar. Training staff for operating the submarine, radars and sonars will be made available to the Myanmar Navy. INS Sindhuvir was refurbished by Hindustan Shipyard Limited in Visakhapatnam. India and Myanmar had agreed to train personnel for the new submarine fleet at the submarine training base at Visakhapatnam.
The transfer will also include operational and maintenance training to the Myanmar Navy, which will be operating a submarine for the first time. However, it is unclear if this represents a lease or a permanent transfer. The Russian-built attack submarine was inducted into the Indian Navy in the late 1980s. This is Myanmar Navy’s first submarine acquisition amidst long running plans by the force to develop an underwater arm. With this transfer, India is left with eight conventional diesel-electric submarines but the government still decided to go ahead since it was deemed more important to prevent China’s inroads into Myanmar Navy after Bangladesh decided to acquire Chinese submarines.
In 2017, India delivered the first batch of Advanced Light Torpedo (TAL) `Shyena’ to Yangon under an export deal worth $37.9 million. During Gen Naravane and Shringla’s visit, Myanmar also promised to step up security to the Kaladan multi-mode transport project that will connect India’s north-east with Myanmar. Myanmar-based insurgent groups have been targeting the project, threatening construction workers and preventing its progress of late.
In another significant development, Myanmar has been invited to join the Indian Navy-run Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR). Myanmar is among half a dozen nations in the neighbourhood that are being invited by India to join this initiative.
Established to advance maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean Region by enhancing maritime domain awareness and coordinating activities, through information sharing, cooperation and expertise development along with partner nations and agencies, the IFC-IOR keeps a close watch on shipping activity in the IOR.
With over 75 per cent of the world’s maritime trade and 50 per cent of daily global oil consumption passing through the region, IOR is seen as vital to world trade and for economic prosperity of many nations.