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How India-Myanmar Bond Has Broken the Hold of North-east Insurgents

North-east insurgents

Quoting from sources within Intelligence agencies, Hindustan Times reported that North-east based insurgents are forced to relocate their bases from the Myanmar border. This is a very positive trend for the security of India, because till a few years ago, the trend was that the North-east insurgents used to create havoc in the region and take shelter in the adjacent Myanmar jungles.

What has changed now? The reports says, “Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) operating from Myanmar, particularly ULFA-I (United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent), NSCN-K (National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang), led by its current chairman Yung Aung, and NSCN-IM (National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak Muivah), are trying to relocate their bases near the border due to persistent action by the Myanmar Army over the last few months.”

Indo-Myanmar: The Deepening Security Cooperation

Ever since the Modi government came to power, insurgency in the North-east region fell sharply through multi-pronged strategies. Bodo Accord and the Bru-Reang settlement will give a glimpse of how the insurgency is dealt with to ensure peace in the region. However, growing security cooperation with Myanmar is also a crucial element which is helping to rein in the insurgents.

There were “not much-publicised” surgical strikes that were carried by the forces of India and Myanmar in the recent years. One can find references of joint efforts of India and Myanmar in eliminating the extremists along the border as documented in the History TV 18 channel back in 2018 and another one in 2019  reported here.

Myanmar increased its engagement with India and deepened security cooperation only in the recent years. To find out why the engagement level was low between the two countries earlier and how the situation changed in the past 5-6 years, you may refer to our article Myanmar Calls Out China – Why It is An Important Development from India’s Perspective?.

India and Myanmar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation on July 29, 2019 in New Delhi for furtherance of India-Myanmar cooperation in the field of Defence.

In February 2020, a Table Top Exercise between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Myanmar Air Force (MAF) was conducted at Prayagraj. The objectives of the exercise included planning of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operation in a given scenario, learning best practices, executing mission during HADR disasters, and understanding Search and Rescue Mission procedures among other objectives.

The impact of this close cooperation can be gauged by the following headline.

This and other reasons put together have brought down the insurgency incidents and related deaths in recent years. A Lok Sabha reply back in July 2019 noted that “the security situation in the North Eastern States has improved substantially during the last five years. In the year 2018, the number of insurgency related incidents in the region decreased by 66% (2013-732, 2018-252), civilian deaths by 79% (2013-107, 2018-23) and security forces casualties by 23% (2013-18, 2018-14).”