The wooing of Myanmar continues. India will give the Myanmar Navy its first submarine as part of the enhanced engagement with the country.
“Cooperation in the maritime domain is a part of our diverse and enhanced engagement with Myanmar,’’ said Anurag Srivastava spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs at the virtual weekly briefing. “In this context, India will be delivering a kilo-class submarine INS Sindhuvir to the Myanmar Navy. This is in accordance with our vision of SAGAR—Security and Growth for All in the Region, and also in line with our commitment to build capacities and self-reliance in all our neighbouring countries.”
This month the blossoming of ties between both countries has been on full display. Earlier in the month, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the Army chief General Naravane visited Myanmar. The visit comes at a time when Myanmar is in the midst of re-thinking its economic dependence on China. The country has to repay as much as $500 million annually to China in both principal and interest, according to reports.
India has tried to do its bit economically by providing debt service relief under the G20 Service Suspension Initiative from May to December 2020. But, beyond economic ties, India—especially with the submarine—has capitalised at a time when the generals in the country, a powerful force, want to look beyond China.
So far, Myanmar has been dependent on China for its military requirements. In providing the country with its first submarine, India has scored a victory.
By reaching out culturally too to Myanmar—especially when disenchantment is setting in—India is going to make China uncomfortable. India has also reacted strongly to China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh. “Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. This fact has also been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions, including at the highest level,’’ said Srivastava.
As for the stalemate that continues on the LAC, India has reiterated that “disengagement is a complex process’’ that requires redeployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC.
“To achieve this, the two sides will maintain the current momentum of communications based on the guidance of our leadership to not to turn differences into disputes and work towards a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement in all the friction areas. along the Line of Actual Control,” Srivastava said.