Myanmar must act

Assamese and Naga terrorists find shelter in Myanmar

India-Bhutan joint operations against ULFA were thought to have seriously damaged the capabilities of that terrorist organisation. Not so, it seems, given the recent spate of attacks in Assam which have killed nine civilians and injured 52. Thanks to its ‘28th battalion‘ based across the border in Myanmar, ULFA is back in business.

ULFA shares the Myanmar base with NSCN-K, a Naga terrorist outfit. The NSCN-K too has stepped up its attacks given the new government’s disinclination to redraw India’s internal borders. For a time, it appeared that regrouping Naga-majority areas in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh into a greater Nagaland state would provide a satisfactory solution to the Naga question, even if it did rouse intense opposition in Manipur. The new central government has shown signs of taking even this solution off the table. Yet, nothing can justify the NSCN’s return to its violent ways.

Myanmar and its generals can never be India’s partners; and there is no need to handle them with kid gloves especially when their sins of commission or omission directly impact national security. India must insist that they clean up the terrorist camps on their side of the border.

Related Link: The North-Eastern Neigbourhood, by Pradip Phanjoubam points out why Myanmar’s attitude is a hurdle in combating terrorism in the North-East.

6 thoughts on “Myanmar must act”

  1. I was an ardent supporter of stern action against lousy neighbours like Bangladesh and Burma that harbor NE insurgents. Problem with stern action is that we could easily strike the final nail that would send both oveertly into China’s arms. China, by building naval bases in Karachi, Quetta, bangladesh and Burma is clrearly following an ‘encirclement strategy’ to contain India militarily. I seriously wonder what we’ve done about it. An open alliance with the US maybe our only option against the Chinese threat (and mark my words, it is a threat).
    As for Bangladesh and Burma embracing China, i guess, they’ve done that already, so why fear something that’s already happened?

  2. arent u confusing NSCN-K with NSCN-IM. NSCN-K is an outfit that GOI is more “comfortable” with. They even shared their camp with the Indian Army at one time.

  3. Well, they are missing one important point here. The Myanmar army at any time has only a limited control in Upper Burma (Chin State and Sagaing Division). What the Burmese are looking for is some kind of military aid from the Indians.

    Otherwise they are not so keen on following up and risking their already overstretched army(they are fighting several of their own rebel problems or helping out drug smugglers or beating the hell out of democracy activists).
    Now it is up to India to bribe them and get them to help out.

    As for Bangladesh, it is the same. The hill region bounding India is porous, and they still remember the way RAW helped out the Chakmas rebels. So why should they bother helping India unless there is something concrete in it for them.

    Also, the problem with the northeast rebels will still be there. As the article noted, the army is camped out in the villages. They will continue to hassle the people and more rebels are born.

    What is needed is a massive scale bribing operation involving the Burmese, couple of rebel groups etc.

  4. Preetam,

    Are these then deserving cases for ‘hot pursuit’? It raises prickly issues over sovereignty etc, but if India’s security is threatened by terrorists who take advantage of Myanmar’s apathy or inability then surely India should consider unilateral military action as an option. Or at least threaten it. What do you think?

  5. I don’t think the hot-persuit will help. The Chin hill is again a very rough terrain. And you can’t do much without local help there. The rebels will merge with the local population. Where will the soldiers look for them?

    You know, the more I see it, the more it seems to me like a game. The soldiers go in kill a couple of people. The rebels go in and kill a few more. Every one continues doing their own things at their own pace. It is almost like some grunge movie or book. People initially join in to fight for a cause, then they continue fighting because they don’t have anything else to do (or can’t do anything else).

    If you ask me, the best we can do is to get out. No one loves us there, no one wants us there. It is like you are forcibly trying to keep a lover who does not want you anymore. Some times I try to ask them who do they think the Indians are. I try to tell them that Indians are themselves so many different people and there are problems in rest of India too. But years of disregard has made them think of India as a colonial power.

    People have been lied to and back stabbed again and again. A leader comes up, he is bribed, he becomes the elected leader and continues to scam his own people. The population gets angrier at the government.

    While most Indians very patriotically want to keep the north east as Indian Territory, they don’t care much about the people there. How many times have they taken a vacation in even less troubled places like Arunachal or Meghalaya? How many investors are planning to set up call centers in Meghalaya (a state with very high literacy rate). Will you take the refugees (from Bangladesh) who have settled in Tripura and let them live in your city?

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