Burma Military Acquires Used Chinese Submarine After Receiving Indian Submarine Last Year

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
December 31, 2021 Updated: December 31, 2021

The Burmese military has reportedly acquired a diesel-electric submarine from China last week, a Type 035 submarine that the Chinese navy had used, just a year after being gifted a secondhand Kilo-class Russian-built submarine by India.

The military regime acquired the submarine, dubbed “Min Ye Kyaw Htin,” through a secret deal with China and commissioned it during the Burmese navy’s 74th anniversary on Dec. 24, The Irrawaddy reported.

The military junta ousted a civilian government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in a February 2021 coup, sparking protests and clashes between the army and ethnic minority insurgents in border areas of Burma, also known as Myanmar.

Opponents of the military junta have accused China of supporting the military takeover, but Beijing has rejected such accusations and said it backs regional diplomacy on the crisis.

Thousands of villagers had recently fled from Burma and sought shelter in Thailand due to the armed conflicts between the military regime and rebel groups, prompting the United Nations Security Council to issue a statement calling for an immediate cessation of violence to ensure the safety of civilians.

The military regime, however, has been mulling over purchasing a submarine from four “regime friendly” countries, including Russia, China, India, and North Korea, and conducted extensive research on the cost of submarines offered by each of the countries.

The military junta now owns two submarines, following the induction of its first 3,000-ton diesel-electric submarine given by India last year. Burma is also reportedly in talks with Russia to purchase one of its Project 636 Improved Kilo submarines.

India gifted to Burma its used submarine, INS Sindhuvir, which can operate at a depth of up to 300 meters. It was refitted before being transferred to Burma, after which it was renamed Min Ye Theinkhathu and utilized for training.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that the move was part of India’s efforts to enhance its defense engagement with Burma and “to build capacities and self-reliance in all our neighboring countries,” VOA News reported.

India’s move was seen as an attempt to counter its rival China’s influence in Southeast Asia, given that its neighboring country Bangladesh acquired two diesel-electric submarines from China at $203 million in 2016.

China also helped Bangladesh build a submarine base for its navy on the Bay of Bengal in 2019, which is located in the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.