Procurement: India Cuts Off Myanmar

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January 7, 2008: India has quietly stopped selling weapons to Myanmar (Burma.) India, and Bangladesh had made an informal deal with Myanmar to drive rebels from each other's borders. Over the last few years, the three countries have worked out these deals, to rid themselves of rebel groups that had only survived because they could flee across the border and set up camp until their pursuers went away. For decades, Myanmar's neighbors avoided such cooperative relations, as a form of protest against the Burmese military dictatorship. But eventually, the need to deal with various rebel organizations overcame this distaste. Three years ago, India began selling weapons to Myanmar, to obtain a little more enthusiastic cooperation in the anti-rebel department.

Myanmar has been ruled by a military dictatorship for the last 45 years. The generals have run the economy into the ground, and succeeded in suppressing all attempts at establishing a representative government. They have also managed to maintain the support of a fairly large army. How have they managed to pull this off for so long? Simple, the generals have concentrated on maintaining the loyalty of the officers and senior NCOs in the armed forces. This is done by making the military a well paid, by Burmese standards, profession, and select carefully from among those who apply to be career soldiers. Burmese troops have cleared out most of the Indian rebels from their side of the border. Apparently India believes that it can resume arms sales if the "rebels in Burma" problem gets out of hand again. Meanwhile, Myanmar gets all the weapons it needs from China, although it has to pay (many of the Indian items were free, or cut rate.)

 


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