Friday, 13 December 2019

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India seeks Burmese military help in dismantling insurgent bases

Indian media reported on Friday that officials from the Indian and Burmese governments recently discussed efforts to dismantle insurgent bases in Burma’s Naga Hills.

A vehicle carrying armed Indian security personnel passes along a road on the outskirts of Imphal in the northeastern state of Manipur on February 18, 2012. (PHOTO: AFP)The northwestern region of Burma has for years been a sanctuary and a training base for armed groups from Manipur, Assam and Indian Nagaland that have opposed the Indian central government for decades and fought for autonomy and, in some cases, independence.

The issue was raised by India during a high-level meeting between the two countries on December 28, the New Indian Express reported.

“[Both sides] discussed and agreed to cooperate closely on issues like insurgent groups along the border, arms smuggling and drug trafficking, border management issues, Myanmar fishermen in Andaman and Nicobar jails, illegal smuggling of wildlife parts, and inspection and verification of pillars,” an Indian Home Ministry official was quoted as saying.

An Indian border security official reportedly sought assurance from his Burmese counterpart that that camps maintained by Indian insurgent groups would be dismantled and that both parties would coordinate patrols along the border area.

“Both the sides expressed satisfaction over [the] opening of a third Border Liaison Office (BLO) between Changlang in India and Pangsau in Myanmar. It was decided to open a fourth BLO in Nagaland sector between Ukhrul in Manipur, and Somra in Myanmar,” the official was reported as saying by New Indian Express.

However, writing in the Hindustan Times, Sanjib Kr Baruah painted the meeting in a less positive light: “In what has become a ritual of sorts, India has again requested Myanmar's cooperation for dismantling training camps and operational headquarters of Indian insurgent groups in its territory,” he wrote.

He reported that while Burmese officials pressed hard for military resources and equipment, they “simply cannot afford to open up another front near the Indian border, with troops already involved in an ongoing battle with the Kachins up north.”

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