Myanmar army promises to throw out Indian rebels

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LOOKEAST REPORT

Myanmar’s army has vowed to throw out all anti-Indian rebels from the country’s Northeast from Burmese territory.

While speaking at the recently held India-Myanmar regional border committee meeting, Major General Phone Myat, commander of Tatmadaw’s North West Command told the Indian commanders that his forces would fight these rebel groups and chase them out of Myanmar.

“We will not allow our soil to be used against India,” Maj-Gen Myat told the three-day meet at Imphal, capital of India’s Manipur state that ended on November 3. “We will fight them under the leadership of our commander-in-chief Senior Min Aung Hlaing.”

18 armymen were killed and at least 11 injured when militants ambushed their convoy in Manipur’s Chandel district, June 5, 2015 © PTI

An 18-member delegation from Myanmar attended the meet, held under the aegis of the Indian Army’s 3 Corps based in Nagaland. The Indian delegation was headed by Lt General Anil Chauhan, General Officer Commanding, Spear Corps.  This corps is responsible for counter-insurgency operations in Indian states bordering Myanmar — Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.

At least four north-eastern rebel groups – National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) and Kamatapur Liberation Organization– have formed a rebel coalition United National Liberation Front of Western Southeast Asia in the remote jungles of Sagaing, from where they have launched attacks on Indian forces at regular intervals.

After one such raid in June 2015, in which 17 Indian soldiers were killed, in retaliation Indian para-commandos attacked a rebel base inside Burmese territory.

Myanmar army has not been able to concentrate on these anti-Indian rebels because of their diverse counter insurgency commitments, but apparently India’s strong support to Myanmar on the Rakhine issue is now been reciprocated by the Tatmadaw

Subsequent surgical strikes by Indian forces have also been launched on a proactive basis.

Indian and Myanmar army have launched cross border strikes against trans-border rebel groups since 2004, but only in hot pursuit over a thick jungle hill border where boundary demarcations are difficult to understand.

Myanmar army has not been able to concentrate on these anti-Indian rebels because of their diverse counter insurgency commitments, but apparently India’s strong support to Myanmar on the Rakhine issue is now been reciprocated by the Tatmadaw.

The statement was a reassurance to the centre, which is concerned about militant activity in the region.

The senior Myanmar military officer said he hopes the two armies can continue friendly relations and peacefully resolve border issues.

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