‘Burma should chase away Indian militants from its soil’

By NJ Thakuria, Guwahati:


As Burma (now known as Myanmar) is embracing multi party democracy shedding its old image of military dictatorship, the expectation from India also rises in different fronts. The government and the people of the largest democracy in the globe now want Burma government to deal with the militants from northeast India, who are hiding in that country, more strongly.

The rise of expectation from Indian sides was reflected in a recent editorial of a leading English daily of northeast India, which is adjacent to many northern and western provinces of Burma.

The Sentinel, a popular English newspaper, published from Guwahati, the virtual capital of northeast India, editorialized the issue emphasizing on full cooperation and trusts between the two neighboring countries based in Naypyi Taw and New Delhi.

“It augurs well that the Myanmar government has assured India that steps will be taken against militants holed up in that country while also seeking assistance from India for implementation of several major development projects,” said the editorial.

It also revealed that New Delhi had submitted a list of camps of Northeast militants in Myanmar with pinpointed location so that action could be initiated against the banned armed outfits. The presence of Paresh Barua, the hardliner elusive leader of United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) in Burma -south China border areas is also being discussed many times.

“But the constraint is that Myanmar is now embattled with its own problems, with the Myanmar Army preoccupied with dealing with the militants of its own country. As a result, it seems Myanmar is unable to invest any part of its Army to crack down on Northeast militants settled there,” highlighted the editorial adding that the Naypyi Taw government had however made it clear that it would not back those militants and action would be followed whenever possible.

Regarding Burma’s opposition to allow Indian Army personnel to launch anti-militant operation inside the neighboring country (as it is a sovereign country), the editorial emphasized that the sovereignty factor cannot be such a huge deterrent to meaningful joint operations.

“The Indian Army is not going to forcibly enter Myanmar for a counter–militancy operation against Northeast armed groups settled in that country. It is the Myanmar Government that needs to invite the Indian armed forces first, and then will our soldiers proceed,” pointed out the editorial adding that “By no stretch of imagination will this be called a violation of anyone’s sovereignty. This will be called an instance of classic cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Only, what is required is trust.”

The other aspect is that Myanmar has already sought India’s help for early completion of the trilateral highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand. Though all the countries are bearing the cost, India’s contribution would be larger. The NayPieTaw government has also sought New Delhi’s help for developing the Naga Hills areas of that country, and India has already agreed to do so.

“In the given situation, therefore, it is incumbent on Myanmar to take the first out–of–box step so that India may be more zestful about rendering help to that country in all possible ways,” wrapped up the editorial adding that a crackdown on Northeast militants settled in that country by the Myanmar Army, however low–intensity it might be in the beginning but sincere at its best, would be the first meaningful step.