We Need to Upgrade the Military: Min Aung Hlaing

By The Irrawaddy 16 February 2015

RANGOON — Quizzed about widespread speculation he will seek to contest the country’s presidency later this year, Burma’s military commander-in-chief said he was more focused on upgrading the combat capabilities of his troops, according to a local weekly.

In an interview with the Flower News Journal, published over the weekend, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing deflected a question on the presidency by instead discussing the need for a modernization of the country’s armed forces.

“I have to do a lot to improve the quality of our troops,” he said. “The era has changed. In the past, rifles were used, then automatic rifles and in the electronic age, there have been weapons with improved accuracy. We are upgrading the army sector by sector to be able to catch up. Otherwise, we will be left behind. We are therefore focusing our attention on that.”

The commander-in-chief’s comments come at a time when the Burma Army and Air Force have spent the last week in battle with Kokang armed groups in northern Shan State. State media reported on Thursday that 47 government soldiers had been killed during the fighting.