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Deployment of Assam Rifles stepped up

By R Dutta Choudhury
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NEW DELHI, March 17 - With Myanmar Army taking steps against members of the militant outfits of the Northeast taking shelter in that country, the strength of the Assam Rifles along the international border has been increased as the possibility of exodus of militants from the neighbouring country cannot be ruled out. Meanwhile, the armed forces of India and Myanmar are planning to launch a coordinated offensive against militants on both sides of the international border to deal with militants in the area.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune here that the Indian Army provided help like intelligence inputs to Myanmar Army to deal with the rebels belonging to the Arakan Army in Rakhine province of Myanmar. In response, the Myanmar Army has agreed to take action against the militant groups of the Northeast, who have been taking shelter in that country. Sources said armed forces of both the countries have agreed to launch a full-fledged coordinated offensive on both sides of the international border and the modalities are to be worked out.

But even before such an operation is launched, the Myanmar Army on its own has started operations against the militant groups and interestingly, the militants did not offer any resistance. According to information available, the headquarters of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) at Taga has been taken over by the Myanmar Army and the camps of other militant groups in the area have also been destroyed.

The Myanmar Army has informed India that during the operations, two militants were killed and 12 were arrested even as it recovered more than 70 sophisticated weapons from the militants. Photographs of the operations and the weapons seized have also been shared with the Government of India.

Sources said that though no large scale exodus of militants was noticed after the operations in Myanmar, such apprehensions cannot be ruled out and that is why the strength of the Assam Rifles along the border has been increased. The Assam Rifles has been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the border with Myanmar and from 17 battalions, the strength of the force has been increased to 23 battalions and the posts of the force have also been moved closer to the international border. The personnel of the force have been directed to stay alert to prevent entry of militants from Myanmar. Recently, three militants were arrested in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh when they tried to escape from Myanmar.

Sources said that after the Taga camps were taken over by the Myanmar Army, the militants have fled to the jungles by taking advantage of the terrain and according to an input received by India, some of them have moved to the Haukyat area in Myanmar. The intelligence inputs also suggested that the NSCN(K) was trying to persuade the Myanmar Army to allow them to set up temporary camps in some other place, but the request was strongly rejected. �It is a fact that the militants are still in Myanmar but they are in disarray and if a strong coordinated operation can be launched on both sides of the international border, it would be possible to deal with the problem permanently,� sources pointed out.

Meanwhile, acting tough on insurgency, the Myanmar government has also banned four ethnic insurgent groups of that country, including the Kachin Independent Army (KIA) and Arakan Army, and declared them as �dangerous organisations�. These outfits are active near the Myanmar-India border areas and maintain good relations with the militant groups of the Northeast. In fact, when the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militants first established camps in Myanmar, they received help from the KIA and some ULFA militants were also trained by the KIA members.

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Deployment of Assam Rifles stepped up

NEW DELHI, March 17 - With Myanmar Army taking steps against members of the militant outfits of the Northeast taking shelter in that country, the strength of the Assam Rifles along the international border has been increased as the possibility of exodus of militants from the neighbouring country cannot be ruled out. Meanwhile, the armed forces of India and Myanmar are planning to launch a coordinated offensive against militants on both sides of the international border to deal with militants in the area.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune here that the Indian Army provided help like intelligence inputs to Myanmar Army to deal with the rebels belonging to the Arakan Army in Rakhine province of Myanmar. In response, the Myanmar Army has agreed to take action against the militant groups of the Northeast, who have been taking shelter in that country. Sources said armed forces of both the countries have agreed to launch a full-fledged coordinated offensive on both sides of the international border and the modalities are to be worked out.

But even before such an operation is launched, the Myanmar Army on its own has started operations against the militant groups and interestingly, the militants did not offer any resistance. According to information available, the headquarters of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) at Taga has been taken over by the Myanmar Army and the camps of other militant groups in the area have also been destroyed.

The Myanmar Army has informed India that during the operations, two militants were killed and 12 were arrested even as it recovered more than 70 sophisticated weapons from the militants. Photographs of the operations and the weapons seized have also been shared with the Government of India.

Sources said that though no large scale exodus of militants was noticed after the operations in Myanmar, such apprehensions cannot be ruled out and that is why the strength of the Assam Rifles along the border has been increased. The Assam Rifles has been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the border with Myanmar and from 17 battalions, the strength of the force has been increased to 23 battalions and the posts of the force have also been moved closer to the international border. The personnel of the force have been directed to stay alert to prevent entry of militants from Myanmar. Recently, three militants were arrested in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh when they tried to escape from Myanmar.

Sources said that after the Taga camps were taken over by the Myanmar Army, the militants have fled to the jungles by taking advantage of the terrain and according to an input received by India, some of them have moved to the Haukyat area in Myanmar. The intelligence inputs also suggested that the NSCN(K) was trying to persuade the Myanmar Army to allow them to set up temporary camps in some other place, but the request was strongly rejected. �It is a fact that the militants are still in Myanmar but they are in disarray and if a strong coordinated operation can be launched on both sides of the international border, it would be possible to deal with the problem permanently,� sources pointed out.

Meanwhile, acting tough on insurgency, the Myanmar government has also banned four ethnic insurgent groups of that country, including the Kachin Independent Army (KIA) and Arakan Army, and declared them as �dangerous organisations�. These outfits are active near the Myanmar-India border areas and maintain good relations with the militant groups of the Northeast. In fact, when the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militants first established camps in Myanmar, they received help from the KIA and some ULFA militants were also trained by the KIA members.