Defence Ministry follows government policies, claims deputy minister

By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER

NAY PYI TAW — The Ministry of Defence is handling defence-related governance tasks on behalf of the Tatmadaw but is following policies set by President U Htin Kyaw, its deputy minister says.

“We have to implement [activities] based on the policy instructed by the president,” Deputy Minister for Defence General Myint Nwe said.

He said that when matters concerning the Tatmadaw arise within government, the ministry helps to resolve them by communication with the Tatmadaw leadership.

“There are policies issued to the ministry by the Tatmadaw … but the main thing is to implement the tasks instructed by the government.”

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Myint Nwe was speaking at a press conference on May 2 in response to a question from a journalist as to whether the ministry takes orders from the Tatmadaw or civilian-led government.

The press conference was held to present the activities of the ministry during the first year of the National League for Democracy-backed government.

Under the 2008 constitution, the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw appoints three ministers within the government: those for defence, home affairs and border affairs. The military also holds 25 percent of seats in parliament and controls six of 11 seats on the National Defence and Security Council.

The constitution states explicitly that the Tatmadaw can manage military affairs independently of the government.

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