Pro­mot­ing Mil­i­tary ties -still mud­dles through the peace process

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - Sai Wan­sai

The Myan­mar Com­man­der-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing vis­ited Europe at the in­vi­ta­tion of the Euro­pean Union Mil­i­tary Com­mit­tee (EUMC) in Novem­ber last year and once more from April 22, by his Ger­man coun­ter­part, Chief of De­fence of the Ger­man Armed Forces Gen­eral Volker Weiker. His pri­mary goal was to pay a good­will visit to the Fed­eral Repub­lic of Ger­many with a stopover in Aus­tria.

Ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous news re­ports, the Tat­madaw or Mil­i­tary good­will del­e­ga­tion also com­prised Chief of the Gen­eral Staff (Army, Navy, and Air) Gen­eral Mya Tun Oo and se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cers of the Of­fice of the Com­man­der-in-Chief (Army).

Ac­cord­ing to the Com­man­der-in-Chief ’s Face­book page, his del­e­ga­tion vis­ited the Aus­trian Army Mu­seum in Vi­enna on April 23, fol­lowed by a visit to the Myan­mar (Burma) em­bassy, where he stressed the ne­ces­sity to learn from in­dus­tri­ally de­vel­oped Aus­tria and ap­ply it at home.

On April 24, Se­nior Gen­eral Min Aung Hlaing was ac­corded a guard-of-hon­our wel­come by Chief of De­fence Staff of the Aus­trian Armed Forces Gen­eral Oth­mar Com­menda at the Aus­trian De­fense Min­istry.

Dur­ing the call, the Se­nior Gen­eral said the pur­pose of the tour was to pro­mote ties be­tween armed forces of the two coun­tries and that the two armed forces could co­op­er­ate in many ar­eas, in­clud­ing pro­mot­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. He stressed that suc­ces­sive Myan­mar lead­ers had rec­og­nized Euro­pean coun­tries as friends and the Se­nior Gen­eral in­vited his coun­ter­part to pay an of­fi­cial good­will visit to Myan­mar

Like­wise, Chief of De­fence Staff of Aus­trian Armed Forces said that he took pride in the good­will visit of the Se­nior Gen­eral and ex­pressed his firm be­lief that the good­will visit would pro­mote fur­ther re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion. Armed forces from Euro­pean Union coun­tries wished to en­hance friendly ties with the Myan­mar Tat­madaw. Strength­en­ing friendly re­la­tions be­tween Myan­mar and Aus­trian armed forces would con­trib­ute much to re­la­tions be­tween the Myan­mar Tat­madaw and other EU armed forces. He sug­gested of­fi­cers from Myan­mar Tat­madaw at­tend mil­i­tary train­ing cour­ses in Aus­tria.

On the same af­ter­noon, the del­e­ga­tion vis­ited the Di­a­mond Air­craft In­dus­try, where the Com­man­der-in-Chief was flown around on a DA-62 type air­craft around the city of Vi­enna. The del­e­ga­tion mem­bers were wel­comed by Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Mr. Chris­tian Dries and of­fi­cials of the Di­a­mond Air­craft In­dus­try.

There is spec­u­la­tion that while the Com­man­der-in-Chief would like to ma­te­ri­al­ize his “Stan­dard Army” am­bi­tion which he de­fines as an ef­fi­cient army, equipped with mod­ern arse­nal and rapid lo­gis­tic in­fra­struc­ture that could be moved around nd re­spects hu­man rights he is not yet ready to cre­ate a “Pro­fes­sional Army” as in one that takes or­ders from a civil­ian gov­ern­ment and is sub­or­di­nate to it.

It is also pos­si­ble that in­tends to rekin­dle the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Ger­man In­dus­trial-equip­ment Com­pany Fritz Werner (Fritz Werner In­dus­trie-Aus­rüs­tun­gen GmbH), which spe­cial­izes in weapon pro­duc­tion, and has been do­ing busi­ness with Burma since the early 1950s. The com­pany helped Burma in man­u­fac­tur­ing the G3 and G4 ri­fles, but had to with­draw from mil­tary-to-mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ship, due to EU’s ban on weapon ex­ports af­ter the mil­i­tary crack­down in 1988.

Since the Fritz Werner is owned by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, the good re­la­tion­ship re­mains un­bro­ken and mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary con­tact now seems to be pick­ing up mo­men­tum, due to the lift­ing of var­i­ous sanc­tions im­posed by the West.

With the re-es­tab­lish­ment of a Burmese mil­i­tary at­tache’s of­fice in Berlin in 2017, em­ploy­ing a full Gen­eral, the Com­man­der-in-Chief ’s Ger­many visit could prove highly ad­van­ta­geous for mil­i­tary re­la­tions in the fu­ture.Min Aung Hlaing’s visit to build bet­ter mil­i­tary re­la­tions with the EU could pay off, es­pe­cially with Ger­many. But arms sales and mod­ern tech­ni­cal knowl­edge will have to wait given the cur­rent arms em­bargo. For now, the Com­man­der-in-Chief and the Mil­i­tary are de­ter­mined to only build a stan­dard army and not a pro­fes­sional one, which means the Mil­i­tary is not sub­or­di­nate to the civil­ian gov­ern­ment.

Min Aung Hlaing has said that only if the coun­try is peace­ful, will the Mil­i­tary go back to the bar­racks, how­ever, if the Mil­i­tary would agree to be­come a pro­fes­sional army,un­der civil­ian con­trol, the res­o­lu­tion of eth­nic con­flict could be eas­ily ob­tained and those coun­tries look­ing to fur­ther strengthen ties with the Myan­mar Tat­madaw need to con­sider this be­fore al­low­ing fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion.

Myan­mar Com­man­der in Chief Min Aung Hlaing. Photo: Mizzima

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.