Pakistan’s military partnership with India’s eastern neighbour Myanmar is gathering momentum with a senior level military delegation from the Directorate of Military Procurement from the SE Asian country scheduled to visit Pakistan for pre-shipment inspection of arms.
Myanmar military is planning to purchase 60 & 81 mm mortars, M-79 grenade launchers and Heavy Machine Guns from Pakistan and a senior level delegation is planning to visit to inspect the products ahead of their shipment, ET has reliably learnt.
Myanmar is also eyeing to purchase Air to Surface missiles from Pakistan, ET has further learnt. These missiles are for their JF-17 fighter aircraft. Myanmar cannot directly purchase these missiles from China due to a ban imposed by Beijing. It may be recalled that in 2015, Myanmar became the first country to import JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, a light weight multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation of China.
Post military coup in Myanmar, Pakistan egged by China has sensed an opportunity to expand defence partnership with Myanmar, an expert on Myanmar who did not wish to be identified told ET. Islamabad is expecting deeper cooperation with Beijing in terms of sub-warfare equipment development, letting Pakistan do maintenance and overhaul for Chinese origin equipment, and more importantly, let Pakistani’s Defense industries become an avenue for Chinese defence sales.
One of the key interlocutors from Myanmar who is pushing military ties with Pakistan is Aye Ne Win, grandson of the country’s former military dictator General Ne Win. Aye Ne Win has been a key figure in Myanmar’s defence sector under military rulers over the last two decades and has been in touch with Pakistani diplomats in Myanmar in the recent past.
It may be recalled that last September a high-level delegation from Pakistan’s Defense Ministry made a visit to Myanmar unannounced by either side.
ET had then reported that the visit saw the two countries hold talks on advanced ordnance technology, aircraft repair and maintenance, and naval munitions. The 10 member Pak delegation, reportedly led by a Brigadier rank officer, met Myanmar Defence Minister and allegedly discussed the sale of upgraded JF-17 (Block III) aircraft and Air to Surface missiles, ET had reported.
The relations between Pakistan and Myanmar have been lukewarm for around half a decade over the issue of violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar, more so due to allegations that Pakistan is arming and training some of the ethnic community members.