Myanmar to receive its first Kilo class submarine from India

India is set to hand over Myanmar its first ever submarine, with a Kilo class boat likely to be sent across this year after being refitted indigenously. The INS Sindhuvir will be used by the Myanmar Navy — which is looking at acquiring its own submarine fleet in the coming years — for training purposes.

myanmar first kilo class submarine india A Indian Kilo-class submarine (photo: Diego Quevedo Carmona/los barcos de eugenio)

The Kilo class submarine, bought from Russia in the 1980s, is currently being modernised by the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vizag with sources saying that work is likely be completed before the end of this year. There have been a series of high level exchanges and meetings between the two nations in recent months, with the Myanmar Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services (CDS) Senior General Min Aung Hlaing currently on an official visit to India.

The transfer of the submarine is likely to take place with a line of credit (LoC) that has been extended by India to Myanmar for enhancing military capability. The Indian initiative, sources said, came after extensive talks with the Myanmar leadership over the past four years to understand their defence needs. As part of the capacity building, earlier this month India supplied Myanmar with advanced light torpedoes named `Shyena’ as part of a $ 38 million export deal that was signed in 2017. The torpedoes were manufactured by the state owned Bharat Dynamics Limited

The agreement over the transfer of a submarine comes even as China has been making considerable efforts to supply underwater weapon systems in the region. Sources said that China had also been in talks with Myanmar for the supply of its older submarines. In 2017, Bangladesh received two refurbished Type 035G-class submarines (Ming class) from China as part of a $ 203 million deal, a move that was watched with caution in India as it symbolized the increasing dependence of the neighboring nation on Beijing.

In March this year, Commodore Moe Aung, Chief of Staff (Myanmar Navy) had announced that the nations would soon have a submarine arm. The senior officer said that acquiring submarines was part of a long term plan that includes training of crew that would need at least four years. Senior Myanmar officials have visited Russia in recent months for talks on acquiring new submarines and training experience on the INS Sindhuvir is likely to come in handy.

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