YANGON — The Tatmadaw was the strongest organisation in the State, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing told a special conference of the Myanmar War Veterans Organization in Nay Pyi Taw on October 31.
Speaking on the second day of the conference at MWVO headquarters, the Senior General also said that the Tatmadaw represented Myanmar, according to an account of his speech on his website.
“As the Tatmadaw represents the country, Myanmar War Veterans Organization, since it has regular contact with the people, must serve as a bridge between the Tatmadaw and people,” Min Aung Hlaing said.
He said that the Tatmadaw was “playing its fair share” in transforming Myanmar to a modern, developed, multi-party democratic nation according to the wishes of the people.
He said the country had an independent, active and non-aligned foreign policy aimed at world peace and friendly relations with nations and that it upheld the principles of peaceful co-existence among nations.
“It is everyone’s knowledge that some foreign countries and organisations ignore the sovereignty of our country and interfere in internal affairs,” Min Aung Hlaing said.
He said nationalistic patriots in various townships had held rallies to demonstrate opposition to “one-sided allegations and interference” of some countries and organisations and to show support for the Tatmadaw.
“Such rallies showed that they understand the goodwill of Tatmadaw toward the Union and people, and that Tatmadaw and people are on the same side,” he said, calling for such “good” traditions to be maintained.
“Rallying for public support is not a thing to be done in times of emergency, but there is a need to take practical step to show our goodwill to the people by continuously engaging with them, and actively participating in public welfare works,” he said.
A pro-military rally in Yangon on October 14 drew thousands of supporters who condemned the international community for calls to bring Myanmar’s generals to justice for their alleged crimes against Rohingya Muslims, including killings, sexual violence and forced deportations.
At the rally, nationalist monk U Wirathu gave his first major public speech since a ban on his sermons was lifted in March, in which he criticised the International Criminal Court’s decision in September to open a preliminary probe into Myanmar’s alleged crimes and lauded China and Russia in the UN Security Council for their role in preventing any firm action against Myanmar.
Min Aung Hlaing said globalisation had created challenges for every country and in Myanmar “all must take part in building a ‘modern armed forces’ to fully protect the country”.
The Tatmadaw alone could not build a modern armed force and public support “is critically important,” he said.