Friday, March 8, 2013

Myanmar, Russia pledge cooperation on defense


Friday, 08 March 2013 11:45 Mizzima News

This week’s visit to Naypyitaw by Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu is being seen by defense and intelligence analysts IHS Jane’s as a sign that the two nations are enhancing military cooperation.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu (left) meets on March 4 at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw with Myanmar Vice-President Nyan Tun (right). PHOTO: President's Office

Shoigu was in Myanmar and Vietnam on March 4 – 6. Although no transactions or specific areas of collaboration were mentioned by either office, Myanmar’s state media confirmed that Naypyitaw and Moscow were seeking closer relations in matters of trade, as well as extanding economic and defense ties.

Myanmar’s President’s Office confirmed that the Russian defense minister met on March 4 at the Presidential Palace with Vice-President Nyan Tun who was accompanied by Gen. Hla Htay Win of the Commander-in-Chief’s Office, Deputy Minister for Defence Commodore Aung Thaw, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Zin Yaw and other officials.

“Russia has emerged as a major military supplier to both countries [Myanmar and Vietnam] over the past decade, with defence transactions thought to be funded by Myanmar's and Vietnam's abundant offshore energy resources,” IHS Jane’s reported on March 7.

Reporting that Shoigu's visit to Myanmar was the first by a Russian Defense Minister in 50 years, IHS Jane’s said that, “It is notable that Shoigu's visit to Myanmar came two months after the two countries agreed to expand ties in investment, trade, energy, mining, capacity building, and science and technology.”

In another meeting with Shoigu, Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar's Defense Services Vice-Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing reportedly thanked the Russian Federation for extending assistance to Myanmar, and called on Moscow “to contribute to ensuring world peace”.

In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov visited Myanmar where he met with President Thein Sein.
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