Thursday 11 June 2015

Indian Army's cross Border operation in Myanmar and earlier operations


  • Militants attacked convoy of Indian army in Chandel, Manipur in which 18 Armymen were killed.
  • Few days after The special forces of the Army conducted military operations inside Myanmar (in collaboration with Myanmmar) inflicting “significant casualties” on the groups behind that ambush, the NSCN (K) and the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL).
    • Sagaing was the suspected site of militants in Myanmmar
  • The main organisation of the area now is United National Liberation Front of Western SouthEast Asia (UNLF) - 4 wings
      1. ULFA (I)
        • Head: Paresh Barua
        • based in Upper Myanmmar
        • operates in tandem with NSCN (Khaplang)
        • When ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajakhowa entered into peace talks with central government then Barua floated ULFA (I)
      2. Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang)
        • Breached 15 year peace truce in 2015
        • not all followers wanted to breach truce leading to split of NSCN (K)
          • NSCN (Reformation) headed by Wangtin Konyak and P Tikhak
        • Khaplang - a Myanmmar born Hemi Naga, is chairman of UNLF with ULFA (I), KLO and NDFB (S)
      3. National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit) NDFB (S)
        • involved in massacre of Adivasis in Assam in december 2014
        • Head: Ranjan Daimari
        • Huge operation against them by army
      4. Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO)
        • Formed in 1995 for Kamtapur state
        • Aligned to Paresh Barua
  • Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP)
    • Formed in 1980 under Ibohanbi and was active in Imphal in 1980s and was killed in 1995 leading to factions
      • One of these led by Ksh Laba Meitei took part in Chandel Ambush
    • fight for Manipur's independence
    • didn't join UNLF
  • Those involved in Chandel Ambush were
    • ULFA (I), NSCN (K), KCP
  • Message to terrorists, Pakistan, separatists, and all disruptive elements. 
  • You can add more points to this easily
The operations are being led by IG Assam Rifles (South), Major General Rajeev Chopra, headquartered at Imphal.

Earlier operations

Only a few of these operations have been acknowledged so far.
  1. The Army’s operations — in close collaboration with Mukti Bahini — inside then East Pakistan in the build-up to the 1971 Bangladesh war are public knowledge - not officially acknowledged by the government.
  2. Then there are the cross-border operations conducted across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir by Special Forces and Ghatak platoons of infantry units deployed in the area. These cross-border operations are usually tactical in nature, conducted over a few hours with targets selected close to the LoC, to cause short-term damage and send a message to the other side.
  3. Tacitly acknowledged by government is “Operation All Clear” conducted inside Bhutan in December 2003 to eliminate North Eastern militant groups based in South Bhutan. 
    • 650 militants had been “neutralised” — either killed or captured — during the operations.
  4. In April-May 1995, following the signing of an MoU for “maintenance of peace and tranquility in border areas”, India and Myanmar (then Burma) conducted a joint military operation, “Operation Golden Bird”
    • The Indian Army’s 57 Mountain Division blocked a column of around 200 NSCN, ULFA and KLO militants moving through the Myanmar-Mizoram border towards Manipur, after it picked up a consignment of weapons on the Bangladesh coast near Cox’s Bazar.
    • India awarded the Nehru Peace Prize to Aung Sang Suu Kyi at the same time, angering Myanmar’s military rulers who pulled out of the joint operation.
      • This allowed the trapped militants to escape. 
        • The then Eastern Army commander, Lieutenant General H R S Kalkat, later said that “India should leave its Burma policy to the Army. We are soldiers, they (Myanmar Junta) are soldiers and our blood is thicker than the blood of bureaucrats.”
    • Then, in the late 1990s, India resumed cooperation with Myanmar, providing its military with badly-needed arms and equipment. 
    • In 2012, it was to emerge that India had resold 83-milimetre Carl Gustaff rocket launchers to the Myanmar military, which it used against Kachin Liberation Army insurgents but to this Sweden got angry and then India assured Sweden that  equipment would not be resold in the future.
      • In the years after, though, India provided a range of equipment to Myanmar’s armed forces, including four Islander maritime patrol aircraft, naval gun-boats, 105 mm light artillery guns, mortars and rifles.
        • The payoff from the support became evident in 2010, when two nations signed an agreement that Indian forces could pursue insurgents across the border.

  5. In words of Brig (Retd) G B Reddy who personally led the raid:
    • "Most successful cross border operation was carried out in early 1988 against the No. 2 Ballation of the united NSCN that triggered a violent inter tribal conflict between Tangkhuls and Konyaks resulting in the split - NSCN (I & M) and NSCN (K)."
Role of MEA (The Ministry of External Affairs) 
  • Secured permission
  • According to The Indian Express sources: 
    • "The raid, sources said, was the culmination of a decade-long — and deeply controversial — programme of secret diplomacy reaching out to Myanmar’s armed forces, facing international sanctions since a 1988 coup.
    • New Delhi’s request for action came amid reports that the NSCN(K) was providing training to a welter of Northeast insurgent groups, including Paresh Barua’s United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had raised the issue of military cooperation against insurgents during her visit to Myanmar in August 2014, and received assurances of assistance.
  • For years, Indian diplomats have been working patiently to secure Myanmar’s cooperation against Northeast insurgents — in the face of Western calls to back the democracy movement of Aung San Suu Kyi, then imprisoned by the military Junta.
  • Earlier also after the debacle of Operation Golden Bird, MEA played a great role - Discussed above.
  • In 2014 two countries signed an agreement provided for coordinated patrolling and intelligence sharing with great support of MEA
Why is Myanmmar doing so?
  • Myanmar itself has become increasingly frustrated by cross-border insurgency and drug trafficking.
  • We have agreements for security cooperation and against terrorism. 


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