Myanmar and the Russian Federation to develop military cooperation: Rakhine understanding

Myanmar and the Russian Federation to develop military cooperation: Rakhine understanding

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Myanmar is interested in developing major relations with powerful nations including China, India, and the Russian Federation respectively. Hence, recent positive developments between China and Myanmar in early 2018, is being reciprocated with the strengthening of military ties between the Russian Federation and Myanmar.

In truth, despite extremely negative elements within the Islamic and Western press against multi-ethnic and multi-religious Myanmar, this nation is intent on developing strong ties with many major powers and regional nations. Also, with the Russian Federation having knowledge of counter-terrorism internally (notably in parts of the Caucasus region) and externally (Syria) then the armed forces of this nation can help in response to counter-measures. Therefore, it makes sense for Myanmar to strengthen bilateral military relations with the Russian Federation.

During recent talks between the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Myanmar, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, both powerful individuals agreed to strengthen relations between the Russian Federation and Myanmar. 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.”

The Defense Minister of the Russian Federation also spoke about respective ports being utilized by military warships from both nations. Of course, for the Russian Federation, then building on ties with Myanmar will further expand on positive developments with Vietnam. Equally important, the geopolitical importance of Myanmar will further embed the Russian Federation in this part of Asia.

Shoigu said, “We pay special attention to visits of the Russian military ships to Myanmar’s ports, and we expect visits to Russia of the warships from Myanmar.”

Rakhine and the United Nations

It is known that both nations signed a cooperation agreement to enhance bilateral relations. Equally important, the Russian Federation stressed that terrorism in Northern Rakhine had international and political links. Therefore, elites in Moscow will increase the international awareness of the real facts on the ground in Rakhine based on utilizing the media of this nation.

Of course, with China and the Russian Federation having potent ties – and with both nations being permanent members of the United Nations, then it is favorable for Myanmar to boost ties with both nations. Similarly, China and the Russian Federation – and India – know full well about international Sunni Islamist terrorism. Therefore, political elites in the Russian Federation have sympathy towards Myanmar over the Rakhine issue based on the same threat in the Caucasus region.

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