Myanmar reaches out militarily during ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces meeting held in Singapore

Myanmar reaches out militarily during ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces meeting held in Singapore

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Myanmar is focused firmly on reaching out internationally in the realm of economic investments, development projects, and forging closer military ties with regional nations – and further afield in nations including the Russian Federation. Hence, while the Western and Islamic media machine focuses on a narrow-angle to Myanmar, the fact on the ground is that regional nations and others seek to support this nation during its transitional period of consolidating democracy. Therefore, the military of Myanmar also held separate talks with several regional nations during the 15th ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM) that took place last week in Singapore.

Once more, just like recent military developments with China and the Russian Federation, and increasing economic and infrastructural initiatives with several nations including Japan and Singapore, it is clear that Myanmar is far from being isolated. On the contrary, the government of Myanmar and the armed forces of this nation are increasingly looking internationally.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) military representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and others, met and reaffirmed their collective commitment to peace in the South China Sea. Equally important for Myanmar, top military personnel from this nation held bilateral talks related to the threat of terrorism, developing military ties, regional visits, and other important areas, with military representatives from Brunei, the Philippines, and Singapore. Other important talks were also held between Myanmar and Indonesia – along with other talks with fellow ASEAN nations.

Other recent developments for Myanmar includes economic initiatives with Japan that bodes well for this nation in the economic sphere. At the same time, Singapore is investing more in Myanmar along with other powerful economic players including China. In a recent article by Modern Tokyo Times, it was stated, “It is known that Japan is focused on boosting areas with Myanmar in relation to agriculture, bio-resources, communications, information technology, investment, and trade. On top of this, an important springboard is the Thilawa Special Economic Zone whereby approximately 20 important Japanese companies hope to enhance this development between Japan and Myanmar. Therefore, with the three most powerful Japanese banks being involved in developing various areas in Myanmar, it is hoped that respective strengths and know-how between both nations will shape a bright future.”

Indeed, Tateshi Higuchi, the Japanese ambassador to Myanmar, enthusiastically said, “I strongly believe the year 2018 tends to be the light of dawn for Myanmar.”

Turning back to the military angle, the Russian Federation recently 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.

Sergei Shoigu, the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, 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.”

Overall, the highly respected Aung San Suu Kyi is focused on consolidating the path to democracy in Myanmar, forging closer political and economic ties with nations throughout the Asia Pacific, developing the infrastructure, building stronger relations internally with all recognized ethnic groups, and other important areas. Hence, the policy of strengthening economic and political ties with Australia, China, India, Singapore, South Korea, and other important regional nations by Aung San Suu Kyi; is being reciprocated by the reaching out of the armed forces of Myanmar. Therefore, important international developments are taking place internally in Myanmar and externally in the realm of strengthening economic, political, and military ties.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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