Chinese help for Myanmar naval facilities

London Dec. 25. In a development likely to cause concern to India, Myanmar is expanding, with Chinese support, its naval facilities on Great Coco Island, the site of a major signals intelligence facility situated near the strategically important Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

According to a report in the latest issue of the Jane's Defence Weekly, the project was launched with a foundation stone-laying ceremony on November 4, but revealed only recently. It involves the construction of a jetty measuring 85m by 70m at a budgeted cost of 70 million kiyat ($11 millions) for completion by next year-end. There is now just a small pier to serve ships calling on the island. Those present at the unpublicised ceremony were Myanmar's Transport Minister and a number of Chinese officials.