With the security of north-east states in view and intensification of bilateral defence cooperation on the anvil, India is sending army chief General VK Singh to Myanmar on a five-day official visit next month.
Top government sources said General Singh will be in Naypyidaw, the country’s capital, between January 5 and 9, 2012, and interact with the new top leadership of the country with an aim to clearing Myanmar of Indian northeast insurgent camps.
India sent satellite images of these camps across the Moreh border through home ministry channels after Myanmar President Thein Sein visited India last October.
Myanmar, on its part, has raised the issue of camps of the Kachin Liberation Army in the Tirap-Changlang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.
While the finer points of Singh’s visit are being discussed at the level of national security advisor Shiv Shanker Menon, New Delhi is ready to supply arms to Naypyidaw even though the latter only wants repair and maintenance of its weapons.
However, one of the key agendas of the visit is to offer to build the Ledo-Pangsau Pass-Tanai section of Stillwell Road, which leads to Yunan province in China. The contract of the Tanai-Pangsau pass road section was awarded to a Chinese joint venture last year after the ministry of external affairs and R&AW did not show interest in building the strategic road.
Although the sector commanders on both sides are in touch with each other on a quarterly basis, New Delhi wants to intensify engagement so that insurgent groups are choked of arms supplies and cadre in the north-eastern states.
New Delhi senses an opportunity in this as Bangladesh is doing its bit to stop anti-Indian activities on its soil.
It is learnt that the outcome of Gen Singh’s visit may pave the way for defence minister AK Antony going to Naypyidaw.