Tiny Bhutan acted against camps of three terrorist groups from Assam and West Bengal this week. In an operation that was closely coordinated with the Indian forces, the Royal Bhutan Army attacked and took control of terrorist camps and infrastructure while the Indian security forces sealed the border. India also helped in the airlifting of Bhutanese casualties.
While most would point out the kingdom was forced to take these actions due to Indian pressure, Bhutan mainly did it in its own self interest. It has always tried to maintain its own Bhutanese identity and considered the Indian insurgents as a potential threat to its way of life. In fact there seems to have been a grassroots movement to collect funds and raise volunteers to get rid of the terrorists who had been running the camps for over 12 years. Learning from Nepal where Maoist terrorists now control significant parts of the country, King Wangchuk has taken decisive action. His action must be applauded.
Speaking to Kuensel the prime minister and home minister, Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley, said that, over the past six years, His Majesty the King and the royal government had made every effort to resolve the problem of the illegal presence of the militants from Assam and West Bengal through peaceful means.
“Since 1998, we have held five rounds of talks with the ULFA and three rounds with the NDFB,” said Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley. “As the KLO had refused to respond to our invitation for talks, we sent a delegation led by the chairman of the royal advisory council to meet their middle level leaders in Lhamoizingkha in April this year and asked them to inform their top leaders to come for talks with the royal government.” Kuensel
The ULFA chief claimed that the strikes had targeted several women and children living in the camps. At least five children had been killed on the first day of the atttac, he said.
If he was so concerned for the safety of women and children, what were they doing in the camps in the first place?