GUWAHATI, June 8 - The Government of India will have to invest substantial amount of money to improve infrastructure not only along the international border with Myanmar but also in Tirap, Changlang, Longding and Namsai districts of Arunachal Pradesh to deal with the problem of militancy in the Northeast region, as most of the active militant groups of the region have strong bases in the neighbouring country.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that militant outfits need a safe place to operate from and the striking capability of the militant groups of Assam, particularly the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and the National Democratic Front of Boroland (S) came down drastically after they lost their bases in Bangladesh and Bhutan. Now the striking capability of the militants is reduced to only a few areas and the main cause of concern is the bases of the militants in Myanmar.
Sources admitted that despite repeated assurances given to India, the Government of Myanmar has not yet been able to launch any concerted offensive against the NE militants operating from Myanmar. Of course, the Government of Myanmar has its own limitations as the administration of that country has very little control over the area in which the militants are taking shelter and it would take some time for the Army of the neighbouring country to set up permanent bases in those areas.
Sources said that the best option for the government would be to improve infrastructure along the 1,642-km-long international border with Myanmar. Because of the terrain, it may not be possible to develop infrastructure all along the border, but there is need for infrastructure development along the vulnerable stretches and the routes frequently used by the militants.
Though the Assam Rifles has been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the international border with Myanmar, most of the camps of the force are located deep inside Indian territory and because of lack of adequate infrastructure, it is not possible to set up required number of camps right on the border. Sources pointed out that it is not possible to set up small camps along the border as there is every possibility of militants overrunning them. Moreover, the government would have to develop infrastructure, including roads, power supply, etc., to ensure free movement of personnel of the forces to deal with the situation.
Sources also said that though the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been imposed in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Army operations have been launched, because of the terrain, the militants are still using the routes through those districts to sneak into India. There is need for improving infrastructure in those districts and police presence need to be strengthened to deal with the situation, sources added.