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Dozen insurgent camps 'smashed' along India-Myanmar border in joint military operation

Highlights
  • Armies of the two countries working in close coordination to eliminate threats in the region
  • The latest operation across Borders Pillars 1 to 9 in south Mizoram was conducted because it was assessed Arakan army insurgents were posing a threat to the Kaladan project

Around a dozen insurgent operating bases and camps have been “smashed” along the India-Myanmar border, with the armies of the two countries working in close coordination to eliminate threats in the region, especially to the ongoing Kaladan multi-modal transit project to boost connectivity in the north-east.

Even as the Myanmar army has stepped-up operations against insurgent groups operating in its territory since January, Indian forces have reinforced their positions with an additional 15 infantry and Assam Rifles battalions, Special Forces and drones along the entire 1,643-km long land border in a major operation code-named “Operation Sunrise” to prevent any “spill-over”, said security establishment sources on Friday.

“Myanmar Army, in its latest operation conducted in its Chin state opposite South Mizoram from February 17 onwards, has destroyed 10-12 camps of the Arakan Army, an insurgent group based in Myanmar that is closely associated with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has links with China,” said a source.



Earlier, towards end-January, the Myanmar army had undertaken “flushing out” operations at Taga area in its Sagaing division, where the general headquarter of Indian insurgent group NSCN (Khaplang) and camps of ULFA (I), NDFB (S) and Manipuri-origin outfits are located. “The Myanmar army has established a base at Taga to get all militants to vacate their camps,” said the source.

“This shows the enhanced level of bilateral military cooperation to clear camps of insurgent groups – whether from India or Myanmar – from the border areas through joint operations and intelligence-sharing. Though NSCN (K) has a regional ceasefire in Myanmar, the two countries have agreed not to let insurgent camps thrive in the border areas,” he added.

The latest operation across Borders Pillars 1 to 9 in south Mizoram was conducted because it was assessed Arakan army insurgents were posing a threat to the Kaladan project, which envisages connectivity between the Kolkata port and Sittwe Port in Myanmar and then through riverine transport and by road to Mizoram.

“The Arakan Army, which is well-trained at planting IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and heavily into extortion, had moved some of its cadres to south Myanmar from their bases in the north. Consequently, there was a threat to Indian construction workers in the Kaladan project,” said another source.

Incidentally, Indian Para-SF commandos had conducted a crossborder raid to destroy two insurgent camps inside Myanmar just a few days after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush in Chandel district of Manipur in June 2015.

Though it led to some heartburn in Myanmar, the two countries have since then stepped-up coordinated patrolling between their armies along the porous border to mount pressure on Indian insurgent groups operating in the region. India has also stepped up its military training and supplies to Myanmar in recent years to counter China’s strategic inroads into the country.

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