Russia will deliver 20 MiG-29 fighter jets to the Air Force of Myanmar (Burma). The deal is evaluated at nearly $600 million. Burma preferred Russia’s renowned jets to China, although its J-10 and FC-1 fighters are cheaper.
The deal became the largest contract to sell MiG-29 jets after Algeria terminated a similar contract with Russia in 2007. Russia has sold only six MiGs to Sri Lanka and gave away ten others to Lebanon since then.
As for Burma, China has been this nation’s major partner in commerce, including the defense industry, during the recent 20 years. The European Union and the United States have been practicing sanctions against Burma for decades. Burma is governed by a military junta, and nearly all opposition activists in the country are jailed.
It is China that eases the consequences of the political and economic blockade of Burma. It is worthy of note that the EU and the US are interested in Burma’s natural resources – its oil, natural gas and non-ferrous metals.
Why did Burma offend its long-term and close partner, China? How will the West react to Burma’s choice of Russian arms?
“In spite of the scandal, which occurred in 2007 during the shipment of MiG jets to Algeria, the MiG-29 jet is much more reliable and efficient than what China offered to Burma. It’s not Russia’s first deal with Burma – we delivered 12 MiG-29 fighters to this country in 2001,” Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis told Pravda.Ru.
“It goes without saying that China is not going to be happy with such a turn of events. China gradually ousts Russia from the countries with which Russia traditionally has relations in the field of defense cooperation. However, I do not think that Russia has a good reason to celebrate. The situation in the Russian defense industry becomes worse, which affects the export of arms.
“The deal with Burma will definitely trigger a harsh reaction from the West, which does not recognize the Burmese regime,” the expert added.