Thursday, August 2, 2012

India, Burma draw closer in military ties

Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:19 Mizzima News

India has agreed to train Burmese army personnel and provide material in an effort to pressure Indian insurgents who take refuge in northwest Burma, according to an article the The Times of India on Thursday.

Vice Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, right, at the world heritage site Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya in the Gaya District in Bihar State, India, on Thursday, August 2, 2012. Photo: AFP

Burma is a haven for armed insurgents to launch attacks on India, the article said.

India will provide Burma with earth moving equipment and other material. Burma's top general, Vice Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, is on a weeklong tirp to India, which began on Wednesday.

He will hold discussions with Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony and the three service chiefs. He will also be hosted at the Eastern Army Command in Kolkata and Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam.

Institutionalizing high-level exchanges and training of personnel is seen as part of India's strategy to enhance the security and military cooperation between the two countries, particularly as it concerns the 1,600 miles of border the two countries share.

Burma also holds an important role in India’s Look East policy in which India is trying to exert greater influence in Southeast Asia in order to counter the influence of China.

On May 30, the official state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar ran an editorial praising Burma-Indian

“India needs Myanmar, and Myanmar also needs India, and that is the common ground,” said the editorial.

“This giant can help us create more job opportunities, acquire technology and set up light and medium industries through investment in multiple sectors,” the editorial said.

The editorial reviewed Indian assistance on infrastructure projects connecting the border areas of the two countries.  During a state visit, Prime Minister Singh and President Thein Sein signed a dozen agreements covering transportation, border development, high tech development and increased trade, which the two countries agreed could double to US$ 3.5 billion by 2015.

India awarded Burma a $500-million credit line to invest in border area development, air services, creating a Myanmar Institute of Information and Technology, implementing cultural exchange programs (2012-2015), and establishing an advanced center for agricultural research and a joint trade and investment forum.

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