India sees Myanmar as a strategic partner in the Bay of Bengal. Bilateral Naval Exercise ‘IMNEX 2019’ between India and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal in India are already underway since the end of last week.
The opening ceremony of the second edition of the India-Myanmar naval exercise ‘Imnex-19’ was held onboard INS Ranvijay at Visakhapatnam recently. Myanmar naval ships UMS Sin Phyu Shin (F-14) and UMS Tabinshweti (773) arrived at Visakhapatnam on Friday and interacted with Indian navy personnel in a bid to sharing expertise on various maritime issues.
During the sea phase, scheduled from October 20-22, INS Ranvijay, a guided-missile destroyer and INS Kuthar, a missile corvette will be carrying out a joint exercise with Myanmar ships UMS Sin Phyu Shin, a frigate and UMS Tabinshweti, a corvette in the Bay of Bengal.
Besides, India has transferred an undisclosed number of Shyena torpedoes to the Myanmar Navy, highlighting growing defence and strategic ties between the two countries. In addition, in recent years India has also supplied three DRDO-designed hull-mounted sonar and radar systems to the Myanmar Navy for installation on its Kyansitthar-class frigates. It has also supplied night vision devices, Bailey bridges, 80 mm rocket launchers, jeeps, assault rifles, and communications kit to the Myanmar Army.
The growing defence and strategic ties between India and Myanmar in recent years have expanded military co-operation in fighting separatist groups operating from jungles along their common border. At the same time India aims to counter China’s growing political, financial, military, and strategic influence over Myanmar. In this context India claims that Myanmar is vital to China’s ‘string of pearls’ strategy, which, according to New Delhi, requires clinching regional military and security alliances, backed by generous economic packages, with states located in the Indian Ocean Region in a bid to “encircle” India.
On the other hand, there are only 4 ASEAN countries out of 11 that actually have submarines as of now. However, soon there will be 6 powerful navies in the region to reckon with as Myanmar is getting a Kilo submarine transferred from India, and Thailand’s future submarines are being built in China.
The writer is a senior editor at SCF and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.