Indian Navy chief to visit Myanmar to enhance maritime relations

Myanmar is of strategic importance to India in the South East Asian region as both share a 725-kilometre maritime boundary, and it is the gateway for the country’s economic partnership with East Asian nations.

Indian Naval Chief Admiral Karambir Singh began his three-day visit to Myanmar on Monday to strengthen and enhance bilateral maritime relations with its eastern neighbour.

The Naval Chief’s visit to Myanmar from February 17 to February 20 includes holding bilateral talks with Commander-in-Chief Myanmar Navy Admiral Tin Aung San. He will also call on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief Defence Services, and other senior government officials, Indian Navy officials told media.

“Indian Navy regularly interacts with Myanmar Navy through the medium of staff talks, joint working group meeting on Maritime Cooperation and other operational interactions which include Port visits, Coordinated Patrols, Bilateral Exercises, Training, and Hydrography,” the officer said.

The interaction will also be held with trainees of the National Defence College in the capital city of Myanmar Naypyitaw, along with a visit to the Naval Dockyard and Training Command of the Myanmar Navy in Yangon city. Both the countries held a joint naval exercise in the city of Visakhapatnam in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, in October last year.

In line with India’s policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), New Delhi facilitated the development of Sittwe Port in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. India plans to create a Special Economic Zone (SEZs) around the port.

The port is a key transit point for India-led Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project that aims to build sea, river and road transport corridors to link India’s eastern ports to Myanmar through Sittwe Port.

India stands as 11th largest foreign investor in Myanmar at $763.6 million, a media report said.

Myanmar is of strategic importance to India as it’s a key gateway for India’s Act East policy – an economic initiative to enhance bilateral, regional and multilateral relations in Asia-Pacific region.