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Improved India-Myanmar ties to help tackle militancy

By R Dutta Choudhury

NEW DELHI, Dec 26 :India�s improved relations with the neighbouring countries helped a great deal in tackling militancy in the North East region and the Government of India is hoping for further improvement of the situation in the days to come as efforts are on to further improve mutual cooperation with the neighbours.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that India�s relation with Myanmar is at all time high, which would put the militants taking shelter in that country under tremendous pressure. It is a fact that most of the active militant groups of North East including the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) have strong bases in Myanmar, but because of India�s improved relation with that country, the militants are now not as comfortable as they were before.

Sources admitted that though the Government of Myanmar is yet to launch a sustained operation against the militants using the territory of that country, the movement of the members of the ultra groups has been restricted to a great extent. The militants are now mostly confined to the Taga area of Myanmar and there have been instances where action was taken against members of ultra groups whenever they were found outside Taga. �The Government of Myanmar has signed a cease fire agreement with some rebel groups of that country and Naga rebels have also come into such an agreement with Myanmar Government. As a part of the agreement, the Naga rebels can stay in a specific area in Taga and the militant groups of the North East have taken advantage of the situation to stay in the facilities of the Naga groups in Taga,� sources added. There have also been reports that sometimes, the militant groups of the North East had to buy peace with the lower level personnel of Myanmar Army.

However, sources asserted that the militants of the North East would not have a free run in Myanmar in the days to come as with improved relation between India and Myanmar, the cooperation between the Armies of both the countries also improved considerably. MHA sources also did not rule out the possibility of launching joint or coordinated operations against the militants by the security forces of India and Myanmar.

MHA sources pointed out that China has also signed an agreement with India on mutual cooperation to deal with terrorism. However, sources admitted that till date, the Government of China has not taken action against the commander in chief of the ULFA(I), Paresh Baruah and a few other militants who are staying in Yunan province of China. �Of late, China has become very discreet while providing direct or indirect assistance to the militants of the North East and there are reports that the leaders of the militant outfits are forced to change their locations in China quite frequently,� sources added.

Sources further said that China was forced to sign an agreement to tackle militancy because the country needs help of India in dealing with terrorism in the Xinjiang province and at this point of time, China cannot afford to antagonize India not only because the country needs India�s cooperation in dealing with terrorism but also because of the fact that China cannot afford lose the Indian market for the goods produced in that country, sources pointed out.

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