Leasing a sub to Myanmar, India sends a signal in the region: Expert

By: |
October 16, 2020 5:10 PM

For Myanmar, this is yet another opportunity for it to wean itself away from China’s military and economic stranglehold though the relationship between the two countries remains strong.

The Bay of Bengal, long-neglected geopolitically has now become the regional connectivity hub between South Asia and South-East Asia.The Bay of Bengal, long-neglected geopolitically has now become the regional connectivity hub between South Asia and South-East Asia.

India’s decision to lease INS Sindhuvir, one of its nine Kilo-class submarines to Myanmar is indicative of the deepening strategic relationship between the two countries.

“India has been exporting defence equipment to Myanmar for some years now as part of its capacity and capability building initiatives in its strategic neighbourhood under the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) concept but to lease a high-end platform like a submarine sends a distinct signal in the region and beyond,” opines Commodore Anil Jai Singh, a former submariner &Indian Navy Veteran.

For Myanmar, this is yet another opportunity for it to wean itself away from China’s military and economic stranglehold though the relationship between the two countries remains strong.

Expert View

Commodore Anil Jai Singh, who is also Vice President Indian Maritime Foundation, says, “The Bay of Bengal, long-neglected geopolitically has now become the regional connectivity hub between South Asia and South-East Asia. It figures prominently in China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative while India too has launched various initiatives to improve multi-modal connectivity across the region on land and sea and revitalised BIMSTEC. China has also upped the stakes in the region by supplying two Ming class submarines to Bangladesh and is understood to be building a submarine base for the Bangladesh Navy. This dependency on China to support its submarine fleet of two will provide China with diplomatic and military leverage in Bangladesh as part of its larger strategic design which is a matter of concern for India and also for the security of the larger Bay of Bengal region.”

“While the terms and conditions of this lease have not been shared in the open domain except for some basic facts about the training of the Myanmar naval personnel, it can be safely assumed that India will have to continue assisting Myanmar in operating, maintaining and undertaking the repairs and refits of this submarine. It is also not clear if this is a one-off lease or part of a larger submarine acquisition programme by the Myanmar navy,” he observes.

However, according to the former Indian Navy veteran, “while this lease may be strategically of value, it is significant that in the present circumstances with the clear and present threat to India’s security and territorial integrity looming large, the country can afford the luxury of handing over a submarine to another country when its own undersea warfare capability is less than optimal.”

In conclusion he says, “Of the 14 conventional submarines left after this transfer, seven are between 30 and 34 years old, five are between 20 and 30 years old, albeit modified and modernised but old nevertheless. Only the two Project 75 submarines are new (1-3 years old) but these too lack an Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) which, in the contemporary maritime battlespace limits their operational effectiveness.”

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1China says border standoff with India bilateral issue; criticises US’ Indo-Pacific strategy
2Make In India is an enabler to accelerate our company’s growth momentum: Patrice Caine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thales
3Indo-US 2+2 Dialogue: With eyes on China, India & the US focus on Taiwan and Afghanistan