Myanmar's army has put its might on full display during its annual parade serving a reminder to the incoming government led by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In what is seen as a reinforcement of the military's vital role in Myanmar's politics, the army chief also underscored the importance of the forces.
The south-east Asian nation is inching towards a major political transition, handing over of the reins to a democratically elected government for the first time in more than five decades. The country has largely been ruled by the military either directly or through a proxy.
On 27 March, the army held its parade in the capital Naypyidaw marking its 71<sup>st Armed Forces Day. Highlighting the importance of the role played by the army, commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said: "The military will protect the country, guard the public and assist in the government's operations for the country's development. The country's stability is important and we must also build national reconciliation and peace."
"I would like to seriously say that we, the military, will cooperate to achieve success in working for the nation and the citizens' interests."
Military tanks and jet fighters were also on display during the parade.
"The two main hindrances to democratisation are not abiding by the rule of law and the presence of armed insurgencies. These could lead to a chaotic democracy," warned the military general.
Suu Kyi's party National League for Democracy (NLD) is expected to take control of the government on 1 April when the president-designate Htin Kyaw will take over. Cordial relations with the powerful military will be vital for the NLD to push through any reforms.
The military seized control of Myanmar in 1962 after a coup and has ever since called the shots in the country. In a major political changeover, the junta stepped back in 2011 paving the way for a quasi-civilian leadership. In 2015, the elections were said to be free and fair as Suu Kyi rode to power with a massive majority.