Unusual army deployment raises eyebrows

Dec 28, 2009 (DVB), The deployment of Burmese troops to an area near to Burma's border with China has raised suspicions of mistrust of a recently formed border guard force in the region.

The move by the Burmese government appears all the more bizarre for its use of troops from a battalion in Burma's southern Irrawaddy division, despite there being existing infantry in Kachin state, where the troops have now settled.

According to military analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw, who is based on the China-Burma border, such decisions are normally made in wartime, despite the area being peaceful at present.

Furthermore, the area had been under the control of the New Democratic Army Kachin (NDAK), which recently agreed to transform into a border guard force and thus ally itself with the government.

The deployment was carried out because the ruling junta does not trust border guard forces, said Aung Kyaw Zaw. Furthermore, the government intends to disarm such groups in the future to protect its trade routes with China.

"It [government] will try to settle down because it is a very important business route to communicate with China," he said, adding that there is also a prospect of an increase in Burmese troops in the region.

"[The battalions] used to be Burma Communist Party members and surrendered troops, so the junta cannot trust the groups. That's why it is settling down one of its own battalions there."

Reporting by AKT

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