New Delhi , India: The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, is currently in Burma on a 'goodwill visit', according to India Abroad News Service (IANS).
The Air Chief left for Burma on November 18, and will be staying for five days, a defense ministry official said.
Analysts point out that Air Chief Marshal Tyagi’s trip to Burma was more than just a 'goodwill mission', given the fact that New Delhi and Rangoon have steadily been shoring up their economic and military engagement over the past few years.
Relations between the two countries have been warming up after President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s visit to Burma earlier this year. The President’s three-day visit to Burma was seen as an important political milestone by India , reciprocating the October 2004 visit to India by Senior General Than Shwe, which renewed bilateral diplomatic relations.
At the same time, India has been a vocal supporter of Nobel Peace Laureate, democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
Still, Burma is unwaveringly on the radar of India 's 'Look East' policy that aims at strengthening ties with all the countries of Southeast Asia .
India has also transferred to the Burmese Air Force an Islander transport aircraft in spite of fervent opposition from Britain , which threatened to cut off supplies for the remaining Islanders being operated by the Indian armed forces.
There are also reports that India has transferred considerable quantity of small arms and ammunition to Burma but this has not been confirmed.
New Delhi has also been able to persuade Rangoon to take action against rebels from India 's northeast who are sheltered in the dense forests on the Burma side of the border. There is, however, no proposal to conduct joint operations, officials said.
India will be investing US $ 3 million to develop the Sittwe (Akyab) port which will give its land-locked northeast region access to the Bay of Bengal . The construction work of the port city has started over the last two months.
India is also set to invest US $ 3 billion in the construction of a gas pipeline from Akyab, the capital of Arakan State to India to supply the country’s north east with gas from the newly discovered Shwe gas fields.