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Introduction  1 Introduction Ever since Myanmar regained its independence in January 1948, theTatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) has been crucial in restoring and maintaining law and order. It is one of the most important institutions in Myanmar politics. During the civil war of late 1940s and early 1950s, the Tatmadaw suppressed both communist and separatist insurgencies, restored law and order, and maintained peace and stability. While it had engaged in counterinsurgency operations, the Tatmadaw also had to drive foreign aggressors out of the country. However, in October 1958 as the political situation began to deteriorate to such a point that a national security crisis was imminent, the civilian government of the time, at the intervention of some senior Tatmadaw commanders agreed to transfer state power to the Tatmadaw. On 28 October 1958, the Tatmadaw formed the Caretaker Government to restore political stability and to hold general elections; it finally held general elections in February 1960 and subsequently transferred state power back to the elected government. As a political crisis had been looming large again, the Tatmadaw this time staged a military coup d’état in the name of the Revolutionary Council (RC) on 2 March 1962. By the end of April, the RC declared the Burmese Way to Socialism (BWS) as its nation building programme. The Tatmadaw leadership subsequently founded the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) in July 1962 to lead the socialist revolution in Myanmar. The Revolution Council rule came to an end only when a new constitution was promulgated and general elections were held to restore a constitutional government in 1974. Since January 1974, the Tatmadaw accepted the political leadership of the BSPP. Only in September 1988, did the BSPP allow Tatmadaw personnel to resign membership from the party. Then on 18 September 1988, the Tatmadaw took over the state again in the name of the State Law and Order  01 Bldg Tatmadaw.indd 1 12/29/08 8:39:15 AM  Building the Tatmadaw Restoration Council (SLORC), renamed the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) on 15 November 1997. Myanmar has a total land area of 667,000 square kilometres (261,228 square miles), measuring 936 kilometres (581 miles) from east to west, and 2,051 kilometres (1,275 mile) from north to south. It is situated in Southeast Asia and is bordered on the north and northeast by China, on the east and southeast by Laos and Thailand, on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, and on the west by Bangladesh and India. It is located between latitudes 09 32'N and 28 31'N, and longitudes 92 10'E and 101 11'E. The length of its contiguous frontier is 6,159 kilometres (3,828 miles) and its coastline from the mouth of the Naaf River to Kawthaung is 2,228 kilometres (1,385 miles). The total length of the Myanmar-Bangladesh boundary is 271 kilometres (168.7 miles). It consists of two parts, namely the Naaf River boundary of 64 kilometres (39.5 miles), and the land boundary of 208 kilometres (129.2 miles). The total length of the Myanmar-China boundary is 2,204 kilometres (1,370 miles); of the Myanmar-Thailand border, 2,107 kilometres (1,309.8 miles); the Myanmar-India border, 1,338 kilometres (831.8 miles); and the Myanmar-Laos border, 238 kilometres (147.9 miles). It has 29,043 square nautical miles of internal waters and 9,895 square nautical miles of territorial waters (see Table 1.1). Table 1.1 Myanmar Waters No. Myanmar Waters Sq Nautical Mile A Internal Waters (shore to baselines) 29,043.6380 B Territorial Sea Waters (baseline to TS line) 9,895.1860 C Contiguous Zone (TS line to CZ line) 9,879.7018 D Exclusive Economic Zone (CZ line to EEZ line) 92,392.1250 Total area of Myanmar waters 141,210.6508 Notes: TS = Territorial Sea CZ = Contiguous Zone EEZ = Exclusive Economic Zone Source: Ministry of Defence, Myanmar. Myanmar also has an airspace that covers both land area and territorial waters. In terms of population, it was estimated that in 2006 Myanmar had more than 52 million people. The Tatmadaw is entrusted with the defence of this land, sea, air, and people. 01 Bldg Tatmadaw.indd 2 12/29/08 8:39:16 AM Introduction  Despite its significant role in Myanmar, little has been made public about the defence policy and missions of the armed forces. Only in February 1999, for the first time since its...


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