India-Myanmar to jointly fight northeast rebels

Indo-Asian News Service, Imphal
India and Myanmar will conduct a “coordinated operation” against northeast separatist outfits taking shelter and setting up base camps in the neighbouring country, Union Home Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai said here.

“A coordinated operation by the joint forces of India and Myanmar would be conducted in the jungles of the neighbouring country to flush out northeast militants camps,” Pillai told reporters here Saturday night after holding a meeting with top Manipur government officials.

The strategy for the joint operation was discussed with Myanmar officials during Pillai’s visit to Yangon Jan 19-21.

“All camps (in Myanmar) which are acting against the interest of India would be targeted,” the home secretary said refusing to divulge details about the proposed joint operation.

According to Pillai, quite a large number of separatist outfits belonging to northeast India have their camps across the border.

Pillai was here to review the law-and-order situation in Manipur and the development work being undertaken in the state.

Three northeastern states — Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram — share a 1,643-km unfenced border with Myanmar.

“We have given detailed information about the insurgent camps with specific locations to the Myanmar authorities,” the union home secretary stated.

“If any extremist outfit abjures violence, it would be a great potential for talks,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in his speech during the internal security meeting in New Delhi earlier this month pointed out that the almost unchecked trans-border movement of Indian insurgent groups and the continued existence of their camps in Myanmar posed threats to the internal security of Manipur and other northeastern states.

“It is no secret that most arms and ammunition used against our security forces are smuggled in from Myanmar. It is also known that whenever our army, Assam Rifles and the state police launch operations, the militant groups take shelter in neighbouring areas of Myanmar,” Singh told the meeting.

Highlighting the positive outcome of the home secretary-level talks Jan 19-21 at Yangon, the Manipur chief minister asked the central government to consult authorities in Myanmar for ascertaining the dates convenient for the first meeting of the proposed series of meetings between the border liaison officers.

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