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Thai Navy takes note of Myanmar acquiring Indian sub

Bangkok/New Delhi

09-December-2019

Thailand has taken note of a submarine acquired by Myanmar from India and the Royal Thai Navy is preparing to deal with the "new situation".

The Myanmar Navy acquired a diesel-electric Kilo Class submarine from India. The submarine, scheduled to start operations from December 24, is to be deployed in the Andaman Sea for security missions.

The Royal Thai Navy's 3rd Naval Area Command, which oversees territories in the Andaman Sea, has been told to keep a watch on the submarine, which can operate underwater for up to 45 days.

Myanmar plans to use the submarine for "security and protection of its maritime interests", Vice Adm Prachachart, the director-general of the Naval Acquisition Management Office of the Royal Thai Navy, said.

India handed over the refitted INS Sindhuvir to the Myanmar Navy, which is looking at acquiring its own submarine fleet in the coming years, for training purposes.

The Kilo class submarine, INS Sindhuvir, was bought from Russia in the 1980s and was modernised by the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vizag.

The model -- with a displacement of 3,000 tonnes -- is known for its quiet operation. The sub can be equipped with various types of weapons and can dive to a depth of 300 metres and accommodate 52 officers.

Myanmar is to use INS Sindhuvir to train its sailors in the complex art of underwater combat operations from March-April 2020.

Thailand is in the process of buying three submarines from China after the previous coup-appointed government approved the 36-billion-baht purchase -- the first in over 60 years.

The Thai Navy signed an agreement to buy a Yuan Class S26T submarine worth 13.5 billion baht from China in 2017.

It is expected to be delivered to the navy in 2023.

Myanmar's purchase of a submarine from India comes a few months after India delivered the first batch of Advanced Light Torpedo (TAL) Shyena to Yangon as part of an export deal worth $37.9 million which was signed in 2017.

The torpedoes were manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a public sector enterprise. Larsen & Toubro was behind the integration of the torpedoes with the launcher systems.

TAL Shyena is India's first domestically produced lightweight anti-submarine torpedo, and it was developed by DRDO's Naval Science and Technological Laboratory. BDL manufacturers the torpedoes at its facility in Visakhapatnam.

The supply of Shyena torpedos speaks of the growing ties between India and Myanmar, with the former previously having supplied the latter with acoustic drones, naval sonars and other military equipment.

Myanmar's acquisition of a submarine from India comes as Bangladesh has bought two Chinese submarines, and is taking Beijing's help to build the country's first submarine base at Cox's Bazar.IANS