Shillong, April 26: Delhi’s requests to Myanmar to flush out militants of the Northeast from its territory has elicited a positive response for the first time.
The Myanmar military administration’s assurance is being termed the “first breakthrough” in the war on militants holed up in that country. Assam Rifles director-general Lt Gen. Paramjit Singh said today that Myanmar would not only prevent militant groups of the region from expanding their bases in its territory but also take proactive action against those that already exist.
Hounded by the army in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, a large contingent of militants of the banned Ulfa is believed to have found shelter in Myanmar. Ulfa is known to share camps with the NSCN (Khaplang).
The disclosure about Myanmar’s assurance to Delhi came on a day when a Myanmarese military delegation was engaged in discussions with their Indian counterparts at the 4 Corps headquarters in Tezpur.
The 18-member delegation, led by Brig Gen. Tin Maung Ohn, is on a two-day visit. Various issues such as cross-border insurgency, smuggling and border management were discussed despite the visit being basically “ceremonial”, as a source put it.
The presence of militant camps in Myanmar would be discussed before the visit ends, the source added.
Gen. Paramjit Singh told the media in Shillong that the Myanmarese government had expressed its willingness to scour the jungles along the border for militant camps.
“The Myanmarese army, which has been providing assistance to Indian insurgent outfits in Myanmar, has now expressed serious concern about the presence of these outfits on their soil,” Gen. Singh said, while terming the development as “our first breakthrough”.
“More developments will follow,” he promised, expressing optimism “that this will take us to a logical conclusion”.
Apart from Ulfa, many militant outfits of the region, such as the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and the United National Liberation Front, have set up camps inside Myanmar.
Recently, the Assam Rifles director-general, who is also the security adviser to the North Eastern Council (NEC), accompanied Union home secretary V.K. Duggal and director-general of military operations Lt Gen. Mohan Pandey, to Yangon. They held discussions on the possibility of launching a joint exercise between the Indian army, paramilitary forces and the Myanmarese army to flush out insurgents.
Though Gen. Singh refused to disclose much about the discussions or their outcome, he dropped hints that a joint exercise along the Indo-Myanmar border could be launched soon.
Asked to elaborate on the action plan that emerged out of the meeting in Yangon, he said, “I cannot divulge much.”