Burma’s nuclear program: Amend constitution to dispel world’s doubt

Burma’s commander-in-chief, speaking at the graduation ceremony for the military’s Medical Academy in Rangoon on Friday, 21 December, that development of nuclear technology in the country would not be to produce destructive weapons but to use it in medical, research and energy purposes.
Burma's army chief Vice Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
His speech has been received with skepticism by the country’s close watchers, which is not surprising, given its acquisition of dual-use machinery and military ties with North Korea.

Moreover, the subject, against well-meant suggestions during the 2004-2007 National Convention by several quarters, has been placed under “Union Defense and Security Sector” heading (P.181, Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) instead of “Energy, Electricity, Mining and Forestry Sector” heading (P.183) which is its proper venue.

It is like having saltpeter, main ingredient used for preserving food and/or producing gunpowder, placed under the care of the musket maker and saying it is for the purpose of use in the kitchen. Nobody is going to be convinced.

Naturally, if there is doubt about the military’s nuclear program, other doubts are certain to follow about its commitment to democracy, justice, racial equality and peaceful coexistence among nations.

Maj Sai Thein Win, who revealed the military government's nuclear weapons program, following his defection to the West in 2010 (Photo: AP)

The only reasonable thing to do therefore is to remove the questionable clause, “Atomic energy, nuclear fuel and radiation and mineral resources essential to its production” from the Union Defense and Security Sector and put it where it belongs, that is, under the Energy, Electricity, Mining and Forestry Sector.

Logically, while we are at it, we should consider amending other contentious articles that are totally out of line with the principles of democracy and federalism as well.

That will make everyone concerned, especially the people, happy.


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