While the army action along the Myanmar was a major success, the probe by the National Investigating Agency into the incident at Manipur in which 18 soldiers were killed is extremely important.
The NIA has commenced the probe and while decipehering the attack in detail would also focus on the mastermind of the attack S S Khaplang, the supreme leader of the NSCN-K, a militant outfit.
The NIA is also going into the details of the arms and ammunition that were used during the attack and have found that the manner in which the attack was carried out was precise and sophisticated.
However, the NIA says that it is in the process of getting more details on Khaplang as he has emerged as a very strong leader in the recent years.
Where is S S Khaplang:
Khaplang who controls the NSCN-K which claimed responsibility for the Manipur strike is believed to have set up two homes outside India. He has been shuttling between Taga in Myanmar and the Yunnan province in China.
It is said that he has been in touch with Prakash Baruah of the ULFA who has been spotted several times in the Yunan province.
Khaplang may have sensed a strike by the Indian army coming following the Manipur ambush. This may have led him to move out of Taga into the Yunnan province, the Intelligence Bureau suspects.
However, the IB adds that he may have not moved into any other place. Khaplang ensures that he is available to his forces and monitors every operation on his own.
The importance of Khaplang:
There is no doubt that he is one of the most influential leaders in the North East today among the militants. Khaplang's influence was seen when he went ahead and formed the United Liberation Front of Western South India an outfit which shelters several other North Eastern militant groups including the ULFA(I), NDFB(S) and the KLO.
Khaplang was hell bent on creating this umbrella outfit and also becomes its chairman. However he was opposed by R K Meghen the leader of the United National Liberation Front, Manupur.
Meghen who is in jail wanted to become the chairman of the umbrella group, but was prevented by Khaplang. Meghen had even sent messages to his followers from a jail in Guwahati to prevent Khaplang from becoming the chairman of the group.
The NIA probe:
The NIA has sent for forensic examination gun shells and improvised explosive devices which were found at the spot in which the soldiers were killed.
The NIA says it is too early to come to any conclusion, but along with the members of the outfit, we are also investigating the modus operandi in this incident.
Prima facie it appears as though this operation by the NSCN-K was planned for little over a month and they had collected specific intelligence regarding the movement of the army.
The attack was extremely precise in nature which also indicates that the local support that the group had was immensely strong, NIA officials also point out.