Naypyitaw June 30
Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing replied to questions raised by Russia Today (RT) news agency and Red Star newspaper in interviews during his trip to attend the military parade to mark the 75th Anniversary Victory Day of Great Patriotic War in the Russian Federation at the invitation of Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Army General Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu. The replies of the Senior General to these news agencies were as follows:-
An interview with Russia Today (RT) news agency
News Agency: I am glad to see you, sir. I am reporter from Russia Today (RT) news agency. Now, weather is fine in Moscow. I know the Tatmadaw much contributes to the people and the government for prevention and control of pandemic COVID-19 in Myanmar. I roughly know such contribution includes labour of servicemen and their salaries. I’d like to know detail information for such performance.
Senior General: The State has many requirements in prevention and treatment for the disease. So, the Tatmadaw renders assistance for such tasks. Actually, the Tatma-daw has been providing healthcare to the citizens of Myanmar for many years before COVID-19. COVID-19 is a great challenge. Now, more than 9,330,000 people have been infected across the world in addition to a large number of deaths. Fortunately, more than 290 people were infected in Myanmar. But, we can’t forecast pandemic COVID-19 wouldn’t break out in Myanmar on a wider scale. So, the Tatmadaw takes preventive and treatment measures for the disease. The Tatmadaw upholds a concept that the Tatmadaw is a part of the people. Servicemen are also a part of the people. Likewise, the Tatmadaw is a part of the country. Hence, the Tatmadaw, being a part of the State as well as the people, participates in prevention of the disease as part of efforts to safeguard life and property of the people. If the disease is harmful to health of the people, it will be hindrances to future duty and functions. So, we are giving a helping hand to them. We have been providing assistance for two months from April to May. We have provided Ks-2.45 billion which is equal to some US$-2 million. Such amount of money was spent on purchase of protective equipment and medical supplies. These items were sent to people’s hospitals. The Tatmadaw gave medical supplies to more than 95 percent of hospitals across Myanmar. Such kinds of assistance will continue in the future. It is because the Tatmadaw is a part of the people. Having responsibilities for safeguarding life and property of the people, I’d like to note the Tatmadaw is conscientiously in taking preventive measures.
News Agency: I’ve never seen such kinds of endeavours in other countries throughout the world. It should take pride of performances. I prayed such performances could reduce more infected cases in Myanmar.
Senior General: Our efforts much contribute to the State, especially in preventive measures of the disease. The Tatmadaw sprays for disinfection, provides more necessary medical supplies and raises health awareness through educative talks. Relevant civilian health staff will perform treatment for the disease. Only when they face overload of duty, will servicemen from the Medical Corps give a helping hand to them. Mainly, we focus on prevention for the people. Moreover, we manage the persons who returned from foreign countries are kept in quarantine. Suspected patients are arranged at separate accommodation. These quarantine centres are opened at military camps. The Tatmadaw supplies foods to them. Arrangements were made for them to have good meals. If necessary, the Tatmadaw gives healthcare to them. One more point, travels are suspended across the world but many Myanmar citizens in various countries are still missing chance to return home due to many reasons. We sent Tatmadaw aircraft in order to take them back home. For example, Myanmar citizens in Nepal were brought back by the Tatmadaw. Moreover, we gave assistance for the Myanmar people to be able to return home from India under the leadership of venerable Sitagu Sayadaw. Yesterday, I took 19 Russian citizens from Myanmar on my trip to Russia. When I go back home, I will bring 21 Myanmar citizens from Russia. It means humanitarian.
News Agency: In terms of geopo-litics, western countries, especially the US, have maintained a keen interest in the location of Myanmar. What is your view on the involvement of western countries in the politics of Myanmar as it is a country that can give a sea route to China? Are you worried about that?
Senior General : Myanmar is situated in a strategically important location. It can be said that it is our fate. If we can use this beneficially, it is an opportunity. However, there are many factors we must be cautious about. There may be many approaches. If we can overcome the factors that we must be cautious and use the opportunity, this will be of great benefit for us. We must first think of how to use it beneficially. We are interested not in such worries but in the opportunity for cooperation to overcome the threats. If we have such opportunities, we will use them beneficially by overcoming the challenges. We take greater interest in such an approach.
News Agency : As a Russian citizen, I hope that Russia will offer assistance as a friendly nation. In addition to the cooperation between Russia and Myanmar, if China joins in the cooperation of the two countries, how can the situation change?
Senior General: There will be a great outcome. I hope this will happen. However, Myanmar engages in friendly relations with all countries. We have friendly nations only and no unfriendly nations. We are ready to cooperate with any friendly nation in mutual cooperation and understanding. We prefer nations with genuine understanding for us. However, we are ready to cooperate with any country in the world.
News Agency: Thanks for your comments.
The interview with the Red Star Newspaper
News Agency : Russia and Myanmar have established friendly relations for more than 70 years. During the 70 years of friendship and cooperation, military cooperation is very successful. During your visit to Russia last year, you met with the Russian defence minister. You discussed cooperation between the two countries and two militaries and future plans for cooperation. What are the achievements and implementation stages in the cooperation?
Senior General: There are many achievements in military cooperation, which has been established for many years. Russia has been cooperating in the defence field with Myanmar as much as it can. There are many achievements and satisfactory outcomes. There is much potential for the future not just in the military field. ources development is essential. We received a great deal of assistance for human resources development from Russia. For example, Russia has offered us many scholarships, which are successful outcomes of the cooperation between the two countries. Cash will not last for long whereas education is always useful for the development of a country. If one can receive better education, it is of great benefit for not only for individuals but also for the country. Among cooperation in many fields between the two countries, technical cooperation is an invaluable outcome for Myanmar and the Tatmadaw.
News Agency : As the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar and the leader of Tatmadaw scholarship teams, could you please discuss whether the education they received is practically useful for Myanmar or not and the education system of Russia?
Senior General: Regarding practi-cality, our Tatmadaw is building a Standard Army. Our ambition is to build a modern army that can fight conventional warfare. To give an example, we have technical officers who have studied overseas in Russia. We have naval engineers who have studied engineering here in Russia and returned to Myanmar, and built naval vessels based on their own designs. Speaking of education system in Russia, its educational level is quite high. Russia has become a technologically advanced country, not because of technologists from outside the country,
but because of its own technologists. Only because Russia has those technologies, technologists emerged and could achieve today’s status.
Our military personnel have studied in Russia. We have officials who did Ph.D, Doctor of Science and master degrees. There have been more than 6,000 degree holders so far. As far as I know, the Doctor of Science is one of the highest educational degrees in Russia. And we also have officials who are currently doing that degree. We have eight officials who have earned Doctor of Science, and 13 more are currently doing it. Russia is the leading country in space technologies thanks to its own scientists, physicists, chemists and mathematicians. It is undis-putable that physics, chemistry and mathematics of Russia are at the top level.
News Agency : Myanmar Tatmadaw has participated in the Army Games held in Russia. Will it contest the Army Games again this year, and if it will, which competitions will it contest?
Senior General: Yes, we will. We are training in our country. We will also participate this year. The games have been postponed due to coronavirus. We will definitely contest in sniper shooting skill, tank skill and field medical skill competitions.
News Agency: I would like to ask a question about politics in Myanmar. Russia is also working to reform its Constitution. We have learnt that Tatmadaw had contributed a lot in designing the Constitution of Myanmar. We would like to know about the role of Tatmadaw?
Senior General: The Constitution was ratified in 2008, and was put into practice in 2011 by the new parliament. It has been a decade since then. It was in 1993 when the country started designing the Constitution based on the situation of the time. We noticed that there were shortcomings when some provisions were put into practice. So, we worked for constitutional reforms. We never said no to charter amendment. We tried to amend 16 provisions under the previous government from 2011-2016, and 11 provisions under the current government from 2016-2020. Some proposed amendments failed. We are working to build a Union based on democracy and federalism. We have principles, as well as the rights and responsibilities of citizens. This is the guarantee that Con-stitution gives to the people. It is important that that guarantee is firm. So, based on that requirement, the Constitution must be amended as necessary. We do not say no to charter amendment and we will continue to work to amend pro-visions which we deem are necessary.
News Agency; Thanks you , sir.