India’s provision of a submarine to Myanmar was a move that helped New Delhi get an edge over Beijing, which is seeking to push its military hardware among countries in the neighbourhood, people familiar with developments said on Wednesday.
The 3,000 diesel-electric submarine INS Sindhuvir, which has been renamed UMS Minye Theinkhathu, was showcased during the Myanmar Navy’s Bandoola fleet exercise on October 15, the same day the external affairs ministry announced that India had gifted the submarine to the neighbouring country.
“The Kilo-class submarine is an old design but it underwent extensive refits and upgrades before being handed over to Myanmar. It is significant that India handed over one of its submarines at a time when such vessels are needed to keep an eye on regional waters due to the increased activities of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy,” said one of the people cited above, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The move also coincides with growing concerns among some of India’s neighbours about the quality of Chinese military hardware, which is often offered on favourable terms and comes with lines of credit to back purchases.