$40m deal highlights India, Myanmar defence cooperation

India’s decision to supply lightweight torpedoes to Myanmar in a deal estimated to be worth US$39.7 million is the latest sign of increasing defence collaboration between the two neighbours, The Diplomat online magazine said on March 31.

Closer defence cooperation between India and Myanmar, especially in the maritime sphere, was no surprise, said a commentary in the Tokyo-based publication that focuses on the Asia-Pacific region.

“In addition to a land border, both countries also share a long maritime boundary in the strategically significant Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal where they face common challenges, from illegal fishing and smuggling to a rising China,” wrote Mr Prasanth Parameswaran, The Diplomat’s Washington-based associate editor.

“India is also in a position to assist a less developed but growing Myanmar Navy with some capacity-building,” said Parameswaran.

The commentary came a week after Indian media reported that export documents to supply the torpedoes had been submitted for signing to India’s defence and finance minister, Mr Arun Jaitley.

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“The export of lightweight torpedoes will follow the earlier supply of sonars, acoustic domes and directing gear to Myanmar,” Dr S Christopher, the head of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, was quoted as saying in New Delhi on March 24.

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