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Burma Army has more battalions, less men

by admin last modified 2007-03-27 04:52

Taking stock of Burma's armed forces on its assumed 62nd birthday which falls today, exiled dissident group Network for Democracy and Development (NDD) says burgeoning number of infantry battalions have yet to make the army a stronger and capable military power.

No.15 - 3/2007
27 March 2007
War
 
Burma Army has more battalions, less men
 
Taking stock of Burma's armed forces on its assumed 62nd birthday which falls today, exiled dissident group Network for Democracy and Development (NDD) says burgeoning number of infantry battalions have yet to make the army a stronger and capable military power.
 
In 1990, the generals who had taken power in 1988 launched their five five-year plans to beef up its Armed Services to 500,000 men.
Than_Shwe 

Gen Than Shwe

The armed forces then was about 186,000 strong with 168 infantry battalions, each 400-500 strong. By September 2006, the number had reached 555. However, as Lt-Gen Thein Sein, the ruling military council's Secretary # 1 who also doubles as the army's adjutant-general, admitted at the second tri-annual meeting in 2005, 220 of them are between 200-300, while the other 284 are less than 200. Moreover, the army had also lost 9,497 men during the previous 4 months, most of them through desertions.
 Resistance_Day

Photos:Myanmaralin

The meeting also took account of 3,022 offences committed by its personnel, 202 of them by the officers. "One big headache is its persistent top heaviness," a former Burma Army officer told S.H.A.N., "as thousands of officers are being turned out each year by its training institutions. As a result, most of them are finding themselves out of work. Naturally many of them become bad eggs."
 
Senior General Than Shwe, who turns 75 this year, is unlikely to be sidetracked by such "trivialities", the NDD notes. "His speeches all boil down to one common theme: all problems must be dealt with by superior military power."