Tamulpur (Nalbari), Dec. 10: A year after Bhutan launched Operation All Clear to flush out Northeast militant groups based on its soil, Myanmar has got cracking as well.
Lt Gen. Anup Singh Jamwal, general-officer-commanding of the army's 4 Corps, today said Myanmar strongman Senior Gen. Than Shwe had begun massing troops to flush out Northeast militant groups, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and the United Liberation Front of Asom.
'Operations against Northeast rebels seem imminent in Myanmar. We have concrete reports that the Myanmar authorities have started deploying troops along the border and is ready for a crackdown,' Lt Gen. Jamwal told The Telegraph after inaugurating the Barkhopa high school building constructed by the army.
Gen. Than Shwe had expressed his intent to flush out the rebels during a five-day visit to India in late October. The visit, the first by a head of government of Yangon in 24 years, had come weeks after multiple blasts rocked Nagaland and Assam on October 2.
Lt Gen. Jamwal --- head of the operations group of the three-tiered Unified Command structure ' today rubbished reports that the Myanmar Army had already begun driving out the rebels. The 4 Corps is in charge of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Northeast shares a 2,326-km border with Myanmar, of which 1,126 km is in Arunachal Pradesh. The remainder lies in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.
Besides the NSCN-K and the Ulfa, other outfits that have bases in Myanmar are the United National Liberation Front, Revolutionary People's Front and the People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, all from Manipur.
Most rebel camps are located deep inside the jungles in Myanmar's Sagaing division. NSCN-K commander S.S. Khaplang is also based in the council headquarters in Sagaing.
The Indian Army is in the midst of full-fledged operations in Manipur's Sajik Tampak Valley, which borders Myanmar and is a well-known base of militant groups.
Lt Gen Jamwal said the Indian Army was 'ready' for joint operations with the Myanmar Army. 'We are in a better position this time to intercept fleeing rebels,' he said, conceding Operation All Clear, launched by the Royal Bhutan Army last December, had not wiped out the Ulfa and National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB).
The Bhutan operation had destroyed the bases of the Ulfa, NDFB and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), but most of the rebels had managed to escape.
The army official said tough times were in store for the Ulfa as the Indian Army had launched a full-scale operation in Arunachal where its rebels were trying to sneak in from Myanmar.
'We have also deployed troops along the entire border with Myanmar to intercept the rebels,' Lt Gen. Jamwal said. The Telegraph had today reported that Ulfa rebels were shifting base from Myanmar in anticipation of a crackdown by the junta and trying to set up camps in Arunachal.