This interview with Secretary Nai Htoo Aung of MoD is about the ongoing arms supply of their ministry to PDFs, its policies in this process and plans to fulfill the high demand of arms.
TLT: Could you explain arms supply of Ministry of Defence?
Nai Htoo Aung: The defence budget of NUG is around US$100 million, and 60 per cent of it was spent for purchasing and producing arms and ammunition. The cost for basic arms of a battalion was over $ 1 million, excluding the requirement of strategic heavy weapons and ammunition. We have over 300 battalions plus people defence forces. We have no enough funds even for basic arms. We are doing the best in arms supply depending on the budget in our revolution. We could fulfil basic weapons between one-fifth and one-sixth of overall requirement.
TLT: What is NUG’ policy in arms supply to resistance groups?
Nai Htoo Aung: Arms supply is carried out under the command of NUG or its alliances to the resistance group that abide by Code of Content.
TLT: Some people defence forces have complained about unfair arms supply of NUG. What is your response to it?
Nai Htoo Aung: There is a huge gap between demand and supply of arms. Some battalions misunderstood our insufficient capacity in arms supply as we have to prioritize strategically important areas. It is impossible for us to share the weapons equally to all the battalions. The victory in military operations also depends on sufficient arms of battalions. So, we have to consider many issues in arms supply. It is reasonable that some resistance groups complain our arms supply as they have many difficulties on the ground. But I hope their view will change after we could provide them with more arms.
TLT: The demand of arms and ammunition is very high at the frontlines, causing resistance forces to lose their lives. How will NUG prevent it in the future?
Nai Htoo Aung: We are trying our best to protect our people, to finish this revolution and to fulfill the needs of arms to our resistance forces, although we have many needs and limits. We prioritize ensuring more access to resources for arms, greater production and higher supply of arms. As the funds and arms supply are directly proportional, we are working to get more funds and to spend effectively to avoid wastes of the budgets.