How Indian Army is ensuring terror groups in Myanmar never raise their ugly head
In the year 2015, 20 soldiers of the Dogra Regiment were martyred at Manipur. It was termed as one of the deadliest attacks on the Indian Army in the past two decades. National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval took stock of the situation and during that meeting, he said the time had come to hit back hard.
The NSCN-K led by S S Khaplang had refused to join the peace accord that was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He wanted to prove a point to the Indian administration and ordered this hit on the Dogra Regiment.
The first step was to analyse the manner in which these terror groups were operating. It was found that the NSCN-K had regrouped under an umbrella called the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia.
The new outfit comprising NSCN (K), Ulfa (I), Kamatapur Liberation Organization and NDFB (Songbijit) had been operating largely out of Myanmar with a deadly agenda for North East.
The newly formed group comprising four outfits trained and also launched attacks from Myanmar. The IB has been picking up alerts since long suggesting that many North Eastern terrorist groups have been re-grouping in Myanmar.
There has been a large influx of people from Mynamar recently. Most of them infiltrating are Rohingya Muslims and this has become a major concern for India. Intelligence reports state that while many have come to get away from the fighting with the Buddhists, there are others who could have joined with terrorist groups.
Ties with Myanmar are extremely crucial for India. We saw recently an attack on tribals at Assam and investigations showed that the same was planned in Myanmar. The cadres were sent down from there to carry out the ghastly attack.
In Myanmar the problem is not restricted to just groups such as the ULFA or the NFDB(S). There are signs of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba too setting up camp over there. Intelligence Bureau officials say that groups especially from the North Eastern states have been re-grouping.
The primary agenda is to stall any sort of peace talks that factions have been trying to hold with the government.
Militants have found a safe hiding spot in the very dense forests in Myanmar's Kachin state and the Saigang division which is bordering the North Eastern states of India.
This is an area which is completely under the control of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) which has been accused of training the ULFA.
This particular area is considered to be a no man's land and is completely out of the control of Myanmar. The country has not managed to gain control over these areas which has made it a safe haven for the NFDB (S).
While the Indian government says that it is positive about the support that is getting from Myanmar, there are various other issues on hand which need to be dealt with. How effective will the Myanmar government be when it comes to acting against terrorist groups taking shelter in Kachin state and the Saigang division.
The government in Myanmar has not been effective in dealing with the KIA. In order to get into these dense forests and carry out an operation the army needs the logistic support from locals which is complete absent in these areas thanks to it being controlled by the KIA.
The KIA and the ULFA joined hands in the first place since they have a common agenda and that is to defy India. In fact the first batch of the ULFA was trained by the KIA and since then their ties are extremely strong.
Moreover the ULFA also managed to break the Bodo movement and helped the creation of the NFDB (S) which is an anti talks faction.
The massacre of the tribals in Assam and also the killing of the soldiers have a common agenda. While the army has been breaking the backs of these terrorists, the tribals have been playing a key role in helping out with local intelligence. The area that the ULFA and NFDB (S) have chosen to hide is considered to be no man's land.
The forests are dense and the terrain so difficult that it would need more than just military might to undertake an operation. With the assistance of the KIA and the ULFA the NFDB (S) militants can move around the forests with ease and not get caught.