New Delhi: India and Myanmar on Monday signed a defence co-operation agreement after the two sides held talks on a range of issues including reviewing joint exercises and training provided to Myanmar Defence Services in India, strengthening maritime security through joint surveillance and developing new infrastructure.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Of Myanmar, is currently on an official visit to India from 25 July to 2 August. On Monday, he held talks with Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik.
“The talks were aimed at enhancing defence co-operation, review joint exercises and training provided to Myanmar Defence Services, strengthening maritime security by joint surveillance and capacity building, medical co-operation, pollution response and developing new infrastructure," a statement from the defence ministry said.
“Myanmar is a key pillar of India’s Act East Policy towards prioritising relations with its East Asian neighbours. India has steadily increased defence co-operation with Myanmar in recent years," the statement said.
Earlier, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing called on Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh.
India and Myanmar have in the past co-operated closely on matters of security. Myanmar’s army has joined forces with the Indian army on several occasions to root out anti-India insurgent groups targeting India’s northeast from bases inside Myanmar.
In June 2015, Indian troops crossed the border into Myanmar to take out insurgents who had days before laid an ambush for Indian paramilitary troops in remote Manipur state. And earlier this year, India and Myanmar troops launched a coordinated assault on positions of the so-called Arakan Army, which had threatened a crucial connectivity project between the two countries. The Arakan Army was declared a terrorist group by the government of Myanmar after it killed at least two groups of Myanmarese policemen earlier this year. India’s role in the operation was to ensure the rebels did not cross into its territory with New Delhi deploying troops along the Indo-Myanmar border.