WASHINGTON, D.C.: United States (US) President Barack Obama’s administration said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) it hoped to expand limited training for Myanmar’s military but faced skepticism from lawmakers unimpressed by the pace of democratic reforms.
Testifying before Congress, administration officials said the United States wanted to provide training on human rights to Myanmar’s military, which ruled the Southeast Asian country for decades but allowed a nominal civilian to become president in 2011.
“The importance of the military’s support of reforms so far should not be underestimated,” Pentagon official Vikram Singh told a House of Representatives committee, saying the United States believes the army “is interested in taking steps to modernize, professionalize and reform itself as well.”
“Our limited engagements have begun to expose the military to international norms of behavior and fostered new trust and understanding. This will help us gain influence with the Burmese military and encourage reform after decades of disengagement,” Singh said, using Myanmar’s former name Burma.