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(India rolls out red carpet for Myanmar military chief

India rolls out red carpet for Myanmar military chief



New Delhi, Aug 3 — India Friday rolled out the red carpet for the Myanmar armed forces chief, assuring that it will support its neighbour by providing military training to its personnel.

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Myanmar armed forces commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing, who landed in India on Wednesday, met India's Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne and Indian Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh Friday.

During these meetings, the two sides are believed to have discussed the regional security situation, apart from new ideas for ramping up the bilateral military relations between the two nations.

The Myanmar general's visit comes just over two months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon towards end-May, the first by an Indian prime minister in 25 years.

While India and Myanmar signed a dozen bilateral agreements during this visit, Manmohan Singh also met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his three-day stay.

Gen. Hlaing is scheduled to be in India till Aug 8.

Apart from visiting Buddhist sites in Bodh Gaya, the Myanmarese general will also be hosted at the Eastern Army Command at Kolkata, Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam and other defence establishments during the visit.

India had in late-1990s decided to increase its bilateral relations with the then military-ruled Myanmar after having backed the pro-democracy Suu Kyi for years. That turnaround in its strategy happened after the realisation that China was getting entrenched in Myanmar, which is India's gateway to Southeast Asia.

India had cast aside concerns of other global powers and agreed to supply military equipment to Myanmar, the only Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-country with which it shares a land border.

It had also transferred an Islander maritime patrol plane as well as 105mm light artillery guns, naval gun-boats, mortars, grenade-launchers and rifles to Yangon since then.

Since 2010, Myanmar has been gravitating towards a democratic form of government and had held its first elections in several decades that year.

Earlier this year, pro-democracy crusader Suu Kyi had won a landmark by-election to the country's parliament.

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