What Does Myanmar’s First Submarine Mean for Its Security and the Region?

Earlier this week, we saw another round of headlines tied to Myanmar’s receiving of its first-ever submarine from India. The focus on the capability addition, which has been the subject of speculation over the past few months, has once again spotlighted its significance both for Naypyidaw as well as the wider region.

As I have noted before in these pages, Myanmar has long been mulling the pursuit of a submarine capability in recent years, with periodic reports surfacing over the past decade or so about Naypyidaw’s desire to acquire either submarines or supporting technical capabilities such as submarine training linked to various sources including India and Russia. And with Myanmar’s immediate neighbors either recently acquiring subs or moving toward doing so – Bangladesh already has the capability and Thailand has inked a deal to do so in the next few years – that quest has been seen as even more urgent for the military.

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Prashanth Parameswaran