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India, Myanmar Conduct First Ever Military Exchange Programme

© AP Photo / Channi AnandIndian army soldiers
Indian army soldiers - Sputnik International
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The effort aimed at promoting mutual trust between the defence forces of Myanmar and India is part of the latter’s strategy to counter increasing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean region.

New Delhi (Sputnik): A 78-member delegation of senior Indian military officials is visiting Myanmar for the first ever exchange programme to enhance mutual trust.  Similarly, a 120-member delegation of defence personnel from Myanmar is presently in India.  The Indian delegation is scheduled to interact with top officials from Myanmar's military. 

"A delegation of military officials have arrived in Myanmar for goodwill diplomacy. Some of them are accompanied with their spouses also. They will be interacting with their counterparts here," Sumit Seth, Deputy Chief of Mission in Indian Embassy in Myanmar told Sputnik.

In this Friday, March 17, 2017, image made from video, people who identify themselves as Rohingya, walk at the Dar Paing camp, north of Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. More than 120,000 Rohingya were forced into camps five years ago, and their suffering may have only worsened since Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi rose to power in Myanmar last year. - Sputnik International
India Hands Over First Batch of Houses Built in Rakhine for Rohingyas
Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat has been advocating for deeper coordination between the Indian and Myanmar armies for some time. Myanmar is considered to have recently moved closer to China, which has been a concern for India.  

India believes that some insurgent groups active near its northeastern border have their bases in Myanmar. In June of this year, Indian Army commandos ambushed a camp in Myanmar's territory belonging to the outlawed Nagaland-Khaplang insurgent group. 

READ MORE: India Deports Seven Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar After Court's Nod

India is trying to increase cooperation with Myanmar to counter China's consistent and assertive engagement with leaders in Nay Pi Taw.

Indian Prime Minister Modi visited Myanmar last September to consolidate ties with the neighbouring country. Myanmar, which shares a 1640 km border with India's north-east, is one of India's strategic neighbours and a key target of India's "Act East" and "Neighbourhood First" policies.

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