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Speaking at this morning’s Armed Forces Day parade in Naypyidaw, Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing stressed a need for a Burmese military capable of waging modern warfare in the technological world of the 21st century.
Min Aung Hlaing vowed to shape the Tatmadaw or Burmese armed forces into a highly capable military force, capable of serving the country’s defence and security interests.
He also said that the armed forces will continue to follow the government’s lead in its national peace-building efforts, while maintaining its own long-standing ‘Six-point Principles for Peace’ policy–a plan that obliges all signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement to abide by the controversial 2008 Constitution, which enshrines a strong position for the military at all levels of government.
Among the 7,000 personnel representing Burma’s army, navy and air force components at this year’s elaborate ceremony, the addition of female soldiers and cavalry units was a unique feature.
International media have highlighted Min Aung Hlaing’s reference to the Rohingya Muslim minority during his speech, though he referred to the group as “Bengalis”.
“We have already let the world know that we don’t have Rohingyas in our country. The Bengalis [living] in Arakan State are not Myanmar citizens and they are just people who come and stay in the country,” he said, according to a Reuters’ translation.
“We have a duty to do what we should do, according to law, and we also have a duty to protect our sovereignty when it is harmed by political, religious and racial problems in the country.”