Much ado is being made about Tuesday’s cross border strikes against NSCN-K carried out by the Indian Army. Ironically, it is not army men but politicians who are making more noise.
Pakistan reacted to it yesterday by declaring that “Pakistan is not Myanmar”. Hidden in the statement was a warning for India to not get adventurous in the North west area.
Our own Army commander in J&K said the action against Naga insurgents across the India – Myanmar border could not be replicated in the LOC in Kashmir, then why did our Defense Minister rush into making a statement later in the day that ” the perception of India had changed after the action we took against Maoists and insurgents in North East”.
His statements followed those of Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh’s where he spoke about Modi’s ‘chest measurement’ in ordering an act of great ‘revenge’.
The outspokenness of our ‘leaders’ seems to have caused embarrassment to Myanmar’s political class who have been quick to rebut claims that Indian army took any action on its soil.
Zaw Htay, Director of Myanmar’s Presidential Office said “According to the information sent by Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) battalions on the ground, we have learned that the military operation was performed on the Indian side at India-Myanmar border only”.
Defense experts and diplomatic community in Delhi is also perturbed about the breach of secrecy that is supposed to b given to such covert operations.
It is disclosed that at least four times in the past starting from 1995, Indian army has struck and smoked out insurgents in this area with the active support and co operation of Myanmar and Bhutan governments. But all such operations were kept under wraps and not spoken about loudly and publicly as the present politicians are doing. This has surprised many.
For one thing, it is a given that China has been supporting Maoists’ in India, overtly and covertly. In such a scenario involvement of a third country in India’s operations against them could land that country in a soup with China.
The Indian operation is learnt to have been planned even before the Maoists killed 18 Indian security men.
When intelligence agencies reported the formation of the United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFWSEA), a grouping of nine militant groups, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) – Khaplang, and the ULFA faction led by Paresh Baruah, they had also assessed that a big strike was on cards to announce the arrival.
The move also coincided the abrogation of a 14-year old ceasefire by the NSCN – K group. Some 300 insurgent groups are active in north-eastern states and they escape into neighbouring nations. Therefore, they added that when top security officers briefed the Prime Minister on June 4 about the Manipur incident, he immediately summoned Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag to find out if his forces can strike. The meeting had also discussed an all-out air operation, which was dismissed.
Earlier, during previous regimes too About 30 militant camps, including those of the ULFA, NDFB and KLO, were targeted in the intelligence-based operation. The earliest operation, code-named Operation Golden Bird, was conducted by 57th Mountain Division inside Myanmar, along the Mizoram border in 1995. India’s counter-insurgency doctrine gives Army such permissions. But only after taking political clearance from the Prime Minister’s Office and the ministry of external affairs. “It (the Myanmar operation) indicates that the Indian Army is now capable of taking bold actions, if required. But it depends on the circumstances,” said a senior official.