Myanmar defence chief calls on PM, condemns Amarnath attack

New Delhi


Myanmar Defence Services Commander-in-Chief U Min Aung Hliang called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Friday and conveyed his country's condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack on the Amarnath Yatra that claimed the lives of seven pilgrims.

Hliang also met Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, and was accorded a guard of honour at South Block, which houses the Defence Ministry.

"Condemning the recent terrorist attack on pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra, Senior General U Min Aung Hliang expressed his sincere condolences for the victims of the attack," a government statement said.

On Monday, a bus carrying 56 pilgrims was on its way back to Jammu when it came under attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district.

On his part, Modi conveyed his condolences at the loss of lives of Myanmar armed forces personnel and their families in an air crash on June 7 this year.

On June 7, a Shaanxi Y-8 aircraft of the Myanmar Air Force crashed on a flight from Myeik to Yangon, killing all 122 people on board. Debris from the aircraft was later found in the Andaman Sea.

The Myanmarese defence chief briefed Modi about bilateral defence and security cooperation, according to the statement.

"The Prime Minister appreciated the close cooperation between the armed forces of India and Myanmar," the statement said.

"The Prime Minister said that Myanmar is a key pillar of India's Act East Policy, and expressed his firm commitment to strengthening the bilateral relationship in all areas," it said.

Even as India is continuing to fight northeastern insurgent groups along the India-Myanmar border, New Delhi is working on key infrastructure projects like India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan Multimodal Transport Project connecting Sittwe port in Myanmar with Mizoram in India.

One of India's strategically important neighbours, Myanmar shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states.

Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had visited Myanmar in May end this year. India has expressed concern in past over insurgent groups from the northeast taking shelter in Myanmar.

In June 2015, the Indian Army had carried out a surgical strike along the India-Myanmar border on camps of NSCN(K) militants, days after an ambush in which terrorists killed 18 army men in Manipur. - IANS