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India Boosts Defense Ties with Myanmar

Jul. 30, 2013 - 01:26PM   |  
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI   |   Comments
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NEW DELHI — India — hoping to improve ties with Myanmar to counter the growing influence of China in the region — will help its neighbor build offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and train the Myanmar troops at Indian military institutions.

The decision to build OPVs was reached Monday during talks between visiting Myanmar Navy chief Vice Adm. Thura Thet Swe and Indian Navy chief Adm. Devendra Kumar Joshi.

The Myanmar Navy chief also held talks with Indian Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh and Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur.

The OPVs will be built at Indian shipyards and the training will be given to Myanmar Navy officers and sailors at Indian establishments. The Indian Defence Ministry refused to give details on the agreement, including which type of OPVs would be built, by whom and how many.

The Indian Defence Ministry is already considering a proposal by Myanmar to train their soldiers in variety of helicopters, including attack helicopters.

India has already supplied Myanmar with four Islander maritime patrol aircraft and naval gun boats.

India and Myanmar are also working on a road map on border management, a move seen by analysts here as an effort to check China’s entry into the Indian Ocean region.

China already has a military base on the Coco Islands, which are leased from Myanmar. The Coco Islands are close to India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Andaman Sea.

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