Naypyitaw [Myanmar], May 9 (ANI): As violent protests continue in the country, Myanmar's military has deployed Chinese-made drones to survey the situation and to guide its lethal clampdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
The drones have recently been seen flying over protests in the central city of Mandalay, where scores of Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) protesters have been killed by army snipers who observers suggest have likely used drone-provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) in their precision assaults, reported Asia Times.
The political turmoil which has entered its fourth month -- marked by pro-democracy protests and a brutal crackdown -- has reportedly claimed over 750 lives and wounded countless more.
Myanmar's junta regime is using Chinese-made drones to support its suppression of protesters will undoubtedly give them more fuel to complaints that Beijing tacitly supports the February 1 coup, which suspended democracy and sparked a still escalating nationwide uprising.
The UK-based Janes International Defense Review and the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank have both recently identified these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, as the Chinese-made CH-3A.
CSIS report confirmed with satellite imagery the presence of CH-3A drones at Myanmar's Shante Air Base in Meiktila, south of the central city of Mandalay and home to the Myanmar Air Force's Central Operations Center and home to several squadrons.
CH-3As are built by China Aerospace Long-March International, a division of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
China delivered as many as a dozen CH-3As to Shante Air Base between 2014-15, according to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI), an independent monitoring group. The procurements were then meant to be used in operations against ethnic rebels in Myanmar's border areas.
Citing SIPRI report, Asia Times reported that 56 per cent of Myanmar's arms imports between 2010 and 2019 came from China, 31.6 per cent from Russia and 12 per cent were categorised as "others", which includes countries such as Ukraine, North Korea and Israel. The total value of arms purchases from 2010 to 2019 amounted to more than USD 2.5 billion, the same research shows. (ANI)