General Min Aung Hlaing with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu in Moscow (Photo courtesy: Myanmar military)
Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who is in Russia attending a security conference along with other generals is reported to have stopped in Irkutsk, Siberia.
The Irrawaddy website says: "The Airbus 319-112 (flight number MMA001) operated by Myanmar Airways International that carried the delegation stopped there for a few hours before heading to the Russian capital, where Min Aung Hlaing is attending a security conference."
Significantly, Irkutsk is famous as the manufacturing hub of the Su-30 family of fighter aircraft. Myanmar had placed a contract worth US $204 million order for six Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets in 2018. According to the Irrawaddy, the general had in 2019 also visited the Irkutsk Aviation Plant to supervise the production of the planes.
The general also visited the Rosoboronexport Company – one of the largest weapons exporting companies in the world where he held discussions with Alexander Shcherbinin, deputy director general, on military technology cooperation.
As reported earlier, the general held discussions with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu about strengthening strategic relations between the two nations.
The two sides also discussed: "military technological cooperation between the two armed forces, current and future participation of the Myanmar Tatmadaw in competition and training exercises for enhancement of defence capabilities organized by Russian Federation, political developments of Myanmar and continued cooperation in various sectors between the two governments and the two armed forces", said a statement by the Myanmar military.
Speaking at the conference, General Aung Hlaing touched upon topics related to the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, the negative impacts of Covid-19 on the economy of the South-East Asian countries and unilateral acts that impinge upon the sovereignty of other countries.
He said: "Some countries with unilateralism are resorting to various ways to exert their influence on different political systems and ideologies. In the name of democracy and human rights, they are interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. The international community needs to work together for global peace, stability and sustainable develop-ment based on equality, value and fair and just international laws."
Speaking about the Asia-Pacific region, the general said: "The region possesses nearly one-third of the global market and is a place where main maritime routes are located. Over 100,000 ships are sailing across the Indian Ocean and 70,000 ships pass through the Malacca Strait every year. It is also a vitally important area for transport as US 1 trillion worth of goods flow through it. Eighty percent of global oil exports are transported through the Indian Ocean and about 40 percent of global trade passes through Malacca Strait".
He added that the region that is important in geopolitics and geoeconomics has become the world’s economic centre of gravity. "It has also been designated as a strategically important region of new world political order".
Talking about the situation in Myanmar, Aung Hlaing said: "As a member of ASEAN, Myanmar is fully cooperating in the efforts for regional peace, stability and development by following the ASEAN ways and standing".