Myanmar, the Russian Federation, and counter-insurgency: Sukhoi-30 and Yak-130
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Myanmar is intent on developing its armed forces because of various ethnic insurgencies, the growing threat of ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) Islamist terrorism in the shadow of the Bengali Muslim land grab in Rakhine, the intrigues of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the intrigues of Islamic and Western media groups that are in league with international charities in rebuking this nation. Hence, with the OIC and certain Western nations spreading misinformation against Myanmar at the United Nations (UN), it is clear that China and the Russian Federation are countering this on behalf of Myanmar at various levels. Therefore, not surprisingly, Myanmar is intent on modernizing its military to a higher degree in order to protect the nation-state from internal and external threats related to counter-insurgency and combatting Islamist terrorism.
Recently, the Russian Federation agreed to supply six Sukhoi-30 military jets to Myanmar. On top of this, six Yakovlev Yak-130 ‘Mitten’ light attack aircraft/advanced jet trainer will be delivered by the Russian Federation in late 2018. This follows on from six Yak-130 planes being delivered to the Myanmar Air Force (MAF) in late 2017.
Jane’s Defence Weekly reports, “The Russian-built, twin-seat Yak-130 now appears set to become the lead element in the MAF’s training programme for new fighter aircraft: notably the Sino-Pakistani-designed JF-17 Thunder and the recently ordered Russian-built Su-30. The Yak-130 is also expected to play a part in the MAF’s expanding role in providing close air support (CAS) missions for ground forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations.”
The Deputy Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant-General Aleksandr Fomin, said, the six Sukhoi-30 military jets supplied to Myanmar “will become the main combat plane of Myanmar’s Air Force crucial for protecting the country’s territorial integrity and for countering terrorist threats.”
Indeed, from 2016 the Russian Federation and Myanmar began to foster closer ties. The Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu, said, “We point to a positive dynamics of the cooperation between Russia and Myanmar in the military sphere, an additional impetus to which was given by the agreement on military cooperation of 2016.”
In a past article, Modern Tokyo Times reported, “The Russian Federation is ignoring America when it comes to supplying six Sukhoi-30 military jets to the government of Myanmar. Indeed, given recent terrorist attacks in Myanmar by Bengali Islamists belonging to ARSA, then a timely military upgrade is in the interest of Myanmar. Therefore, in the eyes of the Russian Federation, advancing military ties with Myanmar and supplying advanced military equipment is part of helping this nation to protect its territorial integrity.”
Overall, the highly respected Aung San Suu Kyi is focused on strengthening the democratic path, conflict resolution, improving economic and political ties with nations throughout the Asia-Pacific and further afield, and developing the infrastructure. At the same time, the armed forces of Myanmar need to modernize because of ongoing internal threats and the meddling of outside nations in relation to events in Rakhine. Therefore, the dual policy of strengthening economic and political ties with Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and other regional nations on one level by Aung San Suu Kyi – is being met be developments between the armed forces of Myanmar and important military powers including China and the Russian Federation.
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