Thursday, March 14News That Matters

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat begins 4-day visit to Myanmar to further strengthen defense & security cooperation
New Delhi: General Bipin Rawat takes over as the Chief of Army Staff, in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Photo (PTI12_31_2016_000057B)

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat today began a four-day visit to Myanmar during which he will meet the country s iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hold talks with top military leadership to further ramp up defence and security cooperation between the two countries.

Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

General Rawat is scheduled to meet Suu Kyi, who is Myanmar’s Foreign Minister, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, and Vice Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and Commander-in-Chief of Army.

In the meetings, both sides are expected to explore ways to further broaden security and defence engagements, particularly between the two armies.

“This visit is yet another milestone to reach out to our neighbourhood in the field of defence cooperation and build upon existing mutual cooperation and trust between the two nations,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

General Rawat is likely to address student officers of National Defence College which is a premier institution grooming the future senior leadership of Myanmar defence services. He is also scheduled to visit Defence Services Academy in Pwin Oo Lwin.

Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw had visited India in August last year during which the two countries had agreed to step up bilateral coordination between border guarding forces to ensure security in the areas along the border.

India has been concerned over some militant groups from the North-East region taking shelter in Myanmar. The country has been assuring India that it would not allow any insurgent group to use its territory against India.

The issue of cross border activities by certain insurgent groups might figure during talks between Rawat and Myanmar’s military leadership.

In June, 2015 the Indian Army had carried out an operation in areas near the Indo-Myanmar against the NSCN (K) militants, days after militants had killed 18 Army men in Manipur.

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