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India wants Myanmar defense cooperation

Published By United Press International
MUMBAI, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- India is proposing deeper defense ties with Myanmar after visits by high-ranking military officials.

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid last week concluded his first visit to Myanmar, meeting with President Thein Sein on Friday.

Khurshid proposed a bilateral friendship foundation modeled on the China-Myanmar friendship association in a bid to emphasize its strategic reliability, The Indian Express reported.

Khurshid emphasized the benefits of bilateral defense cooperation, noting that India's army, navy and air forces service chiefs have all recently visited Myanmar and that Indian Defense minister A. K. Antony is to visit Myanmar in January and Thein Sein will be in New Delhi soon for the India-ASEAN summit.

Myanmar currently imports its weaponry. Earlier this month, the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls reported that Myanmar has used M-3 Carl Gustav anti-tank weapons, manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics, part of the Saab group and one of the world's top 30 producers of armaments, in its battles against Kachin guerrillas, who provided the physical evidence of the weaponry's deployment.
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