New Delhi, Oct 15 (PTI) India on Thursday said it will deliver a kilo class submarine to Myanmar's Navy, a move that comes in the backdrop of China's increasing efforts to expand its military influence in the region.
It will be the first submarine of the Myanmarese Navy, which has been ramping up cooperation with the Indian Navy in the last few years.
'Cooperation in the maritime domain is a part of our diverse and enhanced engagement with Myanmar. In this context, India will be delivering a kilo class submarine INS Sindhuvir to the Myanmar Navy,' Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing.
The announcement came days after Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla travelled to Myanmar on a two-day visit during which they held talks with the top military and political brass of the country including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
'We understand that this will be the first submarine of the Myanmar Navy. This is in accordance with our vision of SAGAR 'Security and Growth for All in the Region', and also in line with our commitment to build capacities and self reliance in all our neighbouring countries,' Srivastava said.
Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-kilometer-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.
In the last few years, both sides have been ramping up maritime security cooperation.
Kilo class refers to diesel-electric attack submarines that were designed and built in the erstwhile Soviet Union.
The Indian Navy regularly interacts with the Myanmarese Navy through staff talks, joint working group meeting on maritime cooperation and other operational interactions which include port visits, coordinated patrols and bilateral exercises.
To a separate question on whether India will participate in a US, EU, UK and UN refugee agency co-hosted donor conference for Rohingya refugees later this month, Srivastava said India's stand is very clear on the issue of displaced persons from the Rakhine state in Myanmar and as a neighbour of both Bangladesh and Myanmar, India has highest stakes in the issue.
'We are committed to ensuring an early, safe, sustainable repatriation of the displaced persons to the Rakhine state in Myanmar,' he said.
Towards this end India has committed resources to both Bangladesh and Myanmar, Srivastava said.
As far as this donor conference is concerned, India has received an invitation, he said. PTI MPB ASK RDM RDM