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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

India says no China defence posts on Myanmar island, but will verify

Just an interesting change of mind reported here:
The chief of India's navy said on Wednesday he believed a Myanmar official statement that there were no Chinese military or intelligence facilities on Myanmar's Coco islands near India.

For years, New Delhi has accused China of having naval listening posts with personnel in the Coco islands in the Bay of Bengal, just 45 km north of Indian's Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The Indian navy has kept a robust presence in the region, which is near the Straits of Malacca, a vital sea trade route.

"According to the Myanmarese, there is no Chinese involvement in Coco Island(s) and we believe them," Indian navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash told reporters in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar island chain.

In February, Myanmar chief of naval staff Soe Thane visited India and met Prakash, a sign of closer ties between New Delhi and Yangon.

"During his last visit to New Delhi, I had enquired about Coco Island and ... in reply he invited us to visit the islands and check as, according to him, there is no such (Chinese) threat," Admiral Prakash said, adding that he would visit the Coco islands soon but did not give a date.
What did Reagan say? "Trust but verify." Good advice.

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