Category Archives: Social Matters

India wants a stable Myanmar, says Army Chief

In his first comment on the military coup in Myanmar, Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane on Wednesday asserted that India wants a “stable” Myanmar.

During a virtual conference on the role of the Indian Army in dealing with the contemporary national security challenges, Naravane said that Myanmar is the bridge between India and the rest of South Asian countries.

“Myanmar plays a key role in India’s foreign policy. It is the bridge between India and the rest of South Asia and therefore we want a stable neighbour and a stable Myanmar. I think the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has already stated the country’s position in this regard that – we support the process for transition to democracy and that is what we should be looking forward to,” he said.

The Army Chief also recalled the Myanmar Army’s role in the fight against insurgency along Indian borders in north-east states.

“As far military to military level interaction is concerned, we share a good repo especially on the border, where we conversate quite often. Over the last two years, we had a number of co-ordinated operations in border areas along Nagaland and Manipur. Myanmar Army has carried out operations in flushing out various Indian insurgent groups, who were taking temporary shelters across the borders. As a result of that, a large number of insurgent groups surrender took place,” he said.

On February 1, Myanmar’s military overthrew the government and declared a year-long state of emergency hours before the newly-elected parliament was due to convene. State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, along with other top officials accused of election fraud, have been placed under house arrest.

The coup triggered mass protests across Myanmar.

Credit: www.siasat.com

Malaysia court halts deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court has allowed a temporary stay of deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals scheduled to be sent back to their strife-torn homeland on Tuesday, after rights groups said the plan could endanger their lives.

The 1,200 detainees were set to leave on Tuesday afternoon in three navy ships sent by Myanmar’s military, which seized power in a Feb. 1 coup, sparking weeks of protests from pro-democracy activists.

Just before the court issued its order, the migrants were bussed in from across the country to the naval base at Lumut in western Malaysia where the Myanmar ships are docked.

Refugee groups say asylum seekers from the minority Chin, Kachin and non-Rohingya Muslim communities fleeing conflict and persecution at home are among those being deported.

Amnesty International, which with Asylum Access had asked the courts to stop the deportation, said the high court granted a stay until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, when it will hear the groups’ application for judicial review to suspend the deportation.

“It’s important to note that the stay of execution granted by the court does not mean the 1,200 are safe from being deported,” said Katrina Maliamauv, Amnesty Malaysia director.

“We urge the government to reconsider its plans to send this group of vulnerable people back to Myanmar, where human rights violations are currently dangerously high,” she said.

Amnesty has said among the deportees were three people registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and 17 minors who have at least one parent in Malaysia.

Spokespeople for Malaysia’s immigration department and foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the court order.

Malaysia has said it would not deport Rohingya Muslims or refugees registered with UNHCR. But the UN refugee agency has said there are at least six people registered with it that are also set to be deported and that there could be more. It has not been allowed access to the deportees.

Malaysia has not responded publicly to critics or Reuters queries over the deportation of the asylum seekers and those registered with UNHCR.

Concerns over deportation of unregistered asylum-seekers persist, as UNHCR has not been allowed to interview detainees for over a year to verify their status. The Southeast Asian nation is home to more than 154,000 asylum-seekers from Myanmar.

The United States and other Western missions have been trying to dissuade Malaysia from proceeding with the deportation and urged the government to allow UNHCR to interview the detainees. They also say Malaysia is legitimising the military government by cooperating with the junta.

Credit: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

EU warns of sanctions for Myanmar military, confirms new measures against Russia

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was in Brussels for a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers. /Yves Herman/Pool via AP

Myanmar’s military leadership has been warned it faces European Union sanctions after replacing the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The EU also announced additional measures against Russia in response to the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The bloc’s foreign ministers were meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss a packed agenda including a videoconference with the new U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Shortly after starting, the group issued a statement on Myanmar, saying: “The EU stands ready to adopt restrictive measures targeting those directly responsible.”

Credit: newseu.cgtn.com

Fresh Anti-Coup Protests In Myanmar After Overnight Internet Blackout

The military has steadily escalated efforts to quell an uprising against their seizure of power two weeks ago, which saw civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi detained along with hundreds of other members of her democratically elected government.

Yangon, Myanmar: 

Myanmar’s junta cut the nation’s internet and deployed extra troops around the country on Monday as fears built of a widespread crackdown on anti-coup protests, but defiant demonstrators again took to the streets. 

The military has steadily escalated efforts to quell an uprising against their seizure of power two weeks ago, which saw civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi detained along with hundreds of other members of her democratically elected government. 

With protesters refusing to back down, the generals imposed an internet shutdown on Monday morning and ratcheted up the military’s presence across the country.

Extra troops were seen in key locations of Yangon, the nation’s commercial hub and biggest city, including armoured personnel carriers near the central bank.

Live-stream images shared on social media platforms before the internet blackout showed more military vehicles and soldiers moving through others parts of the country.

However fresh protests again flared in Yangon on Monday morning, including near the central bank.

Hundreds of engineering and technology students protested in a northern district of Yangon, according to an AFP journalist. 

Monitoring group NetBlocks initially said the “state-ordered information blackout” had taken Myanmar almost entirely offline.

However some internet services in Yangon resumed at the start of the working day, according to an AFP reporter in the city.  

Deepening fears the military was going to impose a far harsher crackdown, troops in the northern city of Myitkyina fired tear gas then shot at a crowd on Sunday night. 

A journalist at the scene said it was unclear whether police had used rubber bullets or live rounds. 

Local media outlets said at least five journalists monitoring the protest had been detained and published pictures of some people wounded in the incident. 

A joint statement from the US, British and European Union ambassadors urged security forces not to harm civilians. 

“We call on security forces to refrain from violence against demonstrators, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government,” they said. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres echoed that call, pushing authorities to “ensure the right of peaceful assembly is fully respected and demonstrators are not subjected to reprisals”. 

Through his spokesman, Guterres also asked the military to “urgently” allow Swiss diplomat Christine Schraner Burgener to visit Myanmar “to assess the situation first hand”.

The US embassy advised American citizens to shelter in place and not risk defying an overnight curfew imposed by the regime. 

Credit: www.ndtv.com

China to work with Myanmar to battle COVID-19, promote economic recovery: Wang Yi

NAY PYI TAW, Jan. 11 — China will stand firm with Myanmar to jointly fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, push for economic recovery and build the China-Myanmar community with a shared future, visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Monday.

Wang made the remarks during a meeting with Myanmar President U Win Myint.

Noting that he is the first foreign minister to visit Myanmar after the Southeast Asian country’s general elections, Wang said his visit is aimed at demonstrating China’s anticipation and support for the successful formation of Myanmar’s new government as well as Myanmar’s efforts to realize prosperity and long-term stability.

Through close consultations, China and Myanmar have agreed in principle on the action plan of building the China-Myanmar community with a shared future following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic state visit to Myanmar last year, Wang noted.

China decided to provide an emergency aid of COVID-19 vaccines to Myanmar to support its fight against the pandemic, and is willing to carry out further vaccine cooperation with Myanmar, said Wang.

Wang believed that the “Paukphaw” (fraternal) friendship between the two countries will be further carried forward and the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership will be further deepened after the testing of the pandemic.

Wang said China supports Myanmar’s new government in revitalizing its economy, improving people’s well-being, and accelerating industrialization, hoping that the two sides would effectively implement the agreement on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor with a concerted effort.

Wang said the two countries can extend activities of the China-Myanmar Year of Culture and Tourism to 2021 and promote people-to-people exchanges between the two sides.

China supports the Myanmar government’s efforts in pursuing national reconciliation and will continue to provide assistance within its capacity, he said.

Wang noted that this year Myanmar will assume the roles of the country coordinator of China-ASEAN relations, co-chair of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and co-chair of consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

Wang said China would like to enhance coordination and cooperation with Myanmar to upgrade China-ASEAN relations, accelerate the development of the Lancang-Mekong economic zone, push for the early implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

For his part, President U Win Myint said the Chinese foreign minister was the first to visit Myanmar soon after the new government led by the National League for Democracy was formed in 2016 and took the lead to visit Myanmar again this time during the pandemic, showing China attaches great importance to the relations with Myanmar.

He said Myanmar is committed to working with China to jointly build the Myanmar-China community with a shared future sharing weal and woe, expressing appreciation to China for its support in combating the pandemic and pushing forward the national reconciliation in Myanmar.

The president said Myanmar firmly adheres to the one-China principle and will continue to support China’s position on issues related to Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, adding that Myanmar is willing to play an active role in advancing China-ASEAN relations and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation.

Credit: english.cctv.com

Myanmar orders 30 million coronavirus vaccines from India

Covid vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )

Myanmar has ordered 30 million coronavirus vaccines from India that are expected to be delivered by the end of February.

Zaw Htay, the President Office director-general said that Myanmar chose the vaccine because it can be stored in a temperature between 2 to 8 degrees centigrade that is suitable as per the country’s temperature.

Earlier, Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi had announced that her country will get the COVID-19 vaccine from India and that a contract has been signed regarding it.  

Myanmar has reported 129,483 coronavirus cases with a death toll of 2,812. The country’s government has been communicating with neighbouring countries to acquire COVID-19 vaccines.

Last year the Indian foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and Army Chief MM Naravane had jointly visited the country. The visit saw high-level assurances from India that Myanmar will be a priority when it comes to the vaccine. 

India gifted 3000 vials of Anti Covid Remdesivir to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi as a “symbol” of India‘s commitment to helping Myanmar mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Myanmar has signed MoU with the Serum Institute of India for Covishield. Over the weekend, India’s drug regulator gave approval for its use.

Credit: www.wionews.com

Sailor from Myanmar dies after fight on tanker near Taiwan

The New Princess in Keelung Saturday (CNA Photo)

A sailor from Myanmar died after a fight with fellow crew members on a foreign ship off the coast of Taiwan, reports said Saturday (Jan. 2).

The incident occurred on the New Progress, a tanker registered in the Cook Islands, while it was sailing in international waters off the coast of New Taipei City, CNA reported. As a result, Taiwan has no jurisdiction over the case, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).

When the ship reached a point 31 nautical miles (57 kilometers) from New Taipei’s Shimen District Friday (Jan. 1) evening, a fight broke out and Wai Phy Aung, 27, was stabbed. As his condition deteriorated rapidly, the crew called in assistance, and a helicopter flew him to Taipei Songshan Airport.

However, the man was declared dead after his arrival at the hospital, CNA reported. The tanker dropped anchor in the port of Keelung on Saturday morning.

The CGA said though it did not have jurisdiction over the incident, it would assist with the investigation if the shipowner requested.

Credit: www.taiwannews.com.tw

Indian submarine INS Sindhuvir inducted into Myanmar navy

The kilo class submarine has a displacement of 3000 tonnes, a diving depth of 300 meters and top speed at 20 knots.

INS Sindhuvir commissioned as UMS Minye Theinkhathu in Myanmar Navy (Pic: Myanmar Navy)

Myanmar on Friday (December 25) officially inducted submarine handed over by India in the month of October. INS Sindhuvir was commissioned as UMS Minye Theinkhathu and inducted on the 73rd anniversary of the Myanmar Navy. During the commissioning ceremony, Indian ambassador to Myanmar Saurabh Kumar was also present along with top brass of Myanmar’s Navy.

The kilo class submarine has a displacement of 3000 tonnes, a diving depth of 300 meters and top speed at 20 knots. UMS Minye Theinkhathu is named after an ancient warrior and can operate for 45 days. It is equipped with 40 km range wire-guided torpedoes and 3M-54 Klub anti-ship cruise missiles. Myanmar has built a submarine base for it in a highly classified location.

Kilo class submarines are operated by Indian, Chinese, Russian and Iranian Naval forces and were designed by the Rubin Central Maritime Design Bureau, St Petersburg.

Credit: www.dnaindia.com

India-Myanmar agree to share real time info to curb drug trafficking

India and Myanmar have decided to exchange intelligence input in a timely manner to conduct follow-up investigations into cases relating to the seizure of drugs, new psychotropic substances and their precursors.

The decision was taken at the 5th India- Myanmar bilateral meeting on drug control cooperation between the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), India and the Central Committee on Drug Abuse Control, Myanmar held virtually on Friday.

The Indian delegation was led by the Director-General Narcotics Control Bureau Rakesh Asthana and the Myanmar delegation was led by the Commander of the Drug Enforcement Division (DED) cum Joint Secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control Brig Gen Win Naing.

Asthana during the meeting highlighted issues particularly the trafficking of Heroin and Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) in the country.

He said that the high prevalence of drug abuse in the northeastern states abutting the Myanmar border is a major cause of concern for India. Apart from the porosity of the India-Myanmar border, drug trafficking through the maritime route in the Bay of Bengal has emerged as a new challenge for both countries.

“NCB has remained committed to strengthening the existing mechanism of sharing information and assistance with Myanmar, for combating the drug menace in the region,” Asthana said.

The Commander of DED Brig Gen Win Naing elaborated on the growing threat of the production of Yaba tablets (methamphetamine) which has caused grave concern in the region, even though the cooperation mechanism between Myanmar and India has been enhanced over the past years.

He urged India to develop frequent information exchange on the trafficking of drugs and precursor smuggling activities at every level.

The Commander of the DED complimented the Government of India and the NCB for their continuous efforts to combat the growing threat of the drug menace.

Both countries agreed on the exchange of intelligence information in a timely manner to conduct follow-up investigations in drug seizure cases, new psychotropic substances and their precursors.

They also agreed to conduct Border Level Officers/Field Level Officers meetings on a regular basis between frontline officers to strengthen the existing cooperation on drug law enforcement.

It was decided to exchange information on illegal entry and exit points of illicit drug trafficking on the Myanmar-India borders and information on the technology being used to interdict drug trafficking.

The meeting also decided to hold the 6th India – Myanmar Bilateral Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation in India in 2021.

Credit: nenow.in

Mitsubishi Corp. wins $663m train car contract in Myanmar

Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp. will deliver new train cars that will shorten journeys on the Yangon Circular Railway and between Yangon and Mandalay. (Photo courtesy of the company)

Japan firm to deliver 246 cars for Yangon Circular and Mandalay routes

Mitsubishi Corp. has signed two contracts with Myanmar’s state-run railway, Myanma Railways, to deliver new rolling stock, the Japanese trading house said Tuesday.

The total cost of the two projects is approximately 69 billion yen ($663 million), which will be covered by an international yen loan agreement between the governments of Japan and Myanmar. The projects are part of the Japanese government’s railway infrastructure export drive.

Mitsubishi will deliver 66 cars for the Yangon Circular Railway, which runs in a loop in Myanmar’s largest city, and 180 cars for the Yangon-Mandalay Railway, which connects Yangon, Naypyitaw and Mandalay.

The new cars will shorten travel time on the 46-km Yangon Circular Railway from about 170 minutes to 110 minutes, and on the 620-km Yangon-Mandalay Railway from about 15 hours to around eight hours.

Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, Spain’s leading rail car manufacturer, better known as CAF, will manufacture the train cars using Japanese equipment for part of its electrical systems and deliver the cars from 2023 to 2025.

Myanmar has been overhauling its national rail system, neglected during decades of military rule, starting with two major arteries pivotal to economic revitalization.

Work started in February 2018 to upgrade the Yangon Circular Railway. In addition to cutting travel time, the overhaul aims to boost service frequency by 40%.

The project has fueled development along the line in anticipation of a jump in commuters.

The redevelopment will extend to government-owned tracts surrounding Yangon Central Railway Station, the main stop on the loop. Along with a new domed transport hub next to the existing station, the site will house high-rise office buildings and shopping spaces. 

The country also envisions establishing urban subcenters along the Yangon Circular Railway. 

Meanwhile the improvement of the 60-year-old line between Yangon and Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, would be a boon to the northern Mandalay region, home to the country’s main producers of agricultural products and natural resources. The line also runs through Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw.

Credit: asia.nikkei.com