How MEA helped Army set stage for strike in Myanmar

Raid came after a decade-long programme of secret diplomacy reaching out to Myanmar’s Army.

Written by Praveen Swami | New Delhi | Updated: June 11, 2015 12:24 pm
army Raid came after a decade-long programme of secret diplomacy reaching out to Myanmar’s Army.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) played a critical role in setting the stage for Tuesday’s cross-border strikes deep inside Myanmar by securing permission, highly-placed diplomatic sources told The Indian Express. The raid, sources said, was the culmination of a decade-long — and deeply controversial — programme of secret diplomacy reaching out to Myanmar’s armed forces, facing international sanctions since a 1988 coup.

Sources said New Delhi received assent from the Myanmar government on Monday for its plan to fly in special forces to attack three insurgent camps 15-20 kilometres across the border, in the dense forests of Myanmar’s western Sagaing division.

The details of the operation were shared with Myanmar’s military by the defence attache at the Indian Embassy, Colonel Gaurav Sharma, after Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyay secured high-level clearance.

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Earlier this year, sources said, Myanmar’s military had also responded to requests for action against the NSCN (Khaplang) faction, sending in troops to target its main base at Taga. However, the insurgents disappeared into the forests ahead of the action by Myanmar.

New Delhi’s request for action came amid reports that the NSCN(K) was providing training to a welter of Northeast insurgent groups, including Paresh Barua’s United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had raised the issue of military cooperation against insurgents during her visit to Myanmar in August 2014, and received assurances of assistance.

“In actual fact”, a senior diplomat said, “depending on the state of relations and how willing they are to cooperate for their own reasons, Myanmar has done more at times, so long as it is well handled and they are not put in an embarrassing position”.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s admission that India crossed the border into Myanmar, another diplomat said, “could complicate things for the government there”.

For years, Indian diplomats have been working patiently to secure Myanmar’s cooperation against Northeast insurgents — in the face of Western calls to back the democracy movement of Aung San Suu Kyi, then imprisoned by the military Junta.

India staged limited cross-border operations against Northeast insurgents in 1995, targeting a column that was taking arms from Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh through the Mizoram forests.

The Army’s 57 Division, working together with the Myanmar Army, killed 38 insurgents and arrested 118 in the course of Operation Golden Bird — named after a Grimm Brothers fairytale — that summer. But Myanmar’s Army withdrew cooperation after Suu Kyi was awarded a medal by the Indian government.

Then, in the late 1990s, India resumed cooperation with Myanmar, providing its military with badly-needed arms and equipment. In 2012, it was to emerge that India had resold 83-milimetre Carl Gustaff rocket launchers to the Myanmar military, which it used against Kachin Liberation Army insurgents. Sweden, which had sold the equipment to India, formally protested — and received an assurance that equipment would not be resold in the future.

In the years after, though, India provided a range of equipment to Myanmar’s armed forces, including four Islander maritime patrol aircraft, naval gun-boats, 105 mm light artillery guns, mortars and rifles.

The payoff from the support became evident in 2010, when the Home Ministry’s joint secretary S Singh and Myanmar Army commander for Chin state, U Nay Wing, signed an agreement that Indian forces could pursue insurgents across the border.

In May last year, Ambassador Mukhopadhyay and Major General Kyaw Nyunt, Myanmar’s Deputy Defence Minister, signed a landmark agreement on security cooperation between the two countries. The agreement provided for coordinated patrolling and intelligence sharing.

Part of the reason is that Myanmar itself has become increasingly frustrated by cross-border insurgency. In March, a Myanmar Air Force jet bombed the Chinese city of Lincang, killing four civilians.

The raid targeted insurgent leader Phone Kya Shin, who attempted to seize Laukkai, the capital of the self-administered Kokang region. Phone Kya Shin, also known as Peng Jiasheng, allegedly played a major role in drug trafficking.
Myanmar officials say former Chinese military officials are involved in training the insurgents.

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First Published on: June 10, 2015 4:38 am
  1. K
    Kiran
    Jun 10, 2015 at 11:21 am
    Love u indian army!!!
    Reply
    1. R
      Robert
      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:13 am
      If China's involvement is proved without a shadow of doubt, China must be bed as country that supports terrorism. China being a permanent member of the UN security Council cannot support terrorists outfits. She is now the biggest rough country that has enabled stan, not only to acquire nuclear technology, but also in proliferation. To begin with, there are several countries that are suffering under consistent threats solely because of the 5 permanent members that support the terror outfits that are are favorable to its strategy, without least consideration to the consequence of the victimized countries. India need not join but act unilaterally as the USA to aggressively pursue it mission of fight against terror. Development of country falls second but consolidation of the Indian federalism and freedom and security demand action, faster with iron fists.
      Reply
      1. N
        N Col
        Jun 10, 2015 at 9:42 am
        the best policy decision. militants should be pursued and brought to book fro their crimes.
        Reply
        1. A
          Alok Asthana
          Jun 10, 2015 at 8:19 pm
          How happy should we be about the successful strike on insurgent (not terrorist ) camps in Myanmar? Pretty much. But the problem created by insurgents in NE is NOT attack on army, but collection of taxes. EVERYONE pays them, from shopkeepers to govt officers. We are doing nothing about that. The message to them seems to be - keep collecting taxes but do not finger the army. Even within the tactical area, the important part is fixing blame on how come 20 first rate soldiers could be killed by second rate insurgents with third rate weapons. What lessons did we learn from the two ambushes in NE, within the last 3 months? Which is the agency responsible for drawing lessons from failures? Are their heads rolling? I think not. And if not, we are partly responsible for the death of our own 20 soldiers. Hard, but true.
          Reply
          1. A
            aman saxena
            Jun 10, 2015 at 10:51 pm
            shouldn't the picture of the soldiers be blurred???
            Reply
            1. A
              amit tiwary
              Jun 10, 2015 at 7:21 pm
              SIR . On my way who was there person was a horror life in real
              Reply
              1. A
                Arghya
                Jun 11, 2015 at 3:41 pm
                This is an old picture from 2013.
                Reply
                1. B
                  Bijan Mohanty
                  Jun 10, 2015 at 9:36 pm
                  This is not the first time army resorted to cross border penetration to strike at insurgents. It happened during UPA regime also. Army should take singular credit.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    bimalwilliam
                    Jun 10, 2015 at 11:48 am
                    Kill them. Show no mercy. Wipe them out. They should think twice before attacking our security forces. JAI HIND
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      captainjohann Samuhanand
                      Jun 10, 2015 at 8:34 pm
                      Great cordination. this must not allow compalancy about how 18 soldiers who had elite JATKA commandoes with it could be killed. Proper training is required in road clearing operations.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        Das
                        Jun 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm
                        You should HIDE the faces of the Commandos. They may be targeted by the Militants in future.. Indian Army is in Proactive Offensive Mode...Well Done Army..
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          Dr. Sonali
                          Jun 10, 2015 at 5:04 pm
                          We need to firmly secure all our boarders. Set up residential colones, schools, colleges, hospitals all along our boarders.
                          Reply
                          1. G
                            G B
                            Jun 10, 2015 at 8:00 am
                            "Hot Pursuit" cross border operations have been carried out even in the past. In February 1988, the cross border raid on No 2 Battalion of NSCN finally resulted in the split of NSCN into present day NSCN (I & M) and NSCN (K).
                            Reply
                            1. G
                              Gary Singh
                              Jun 11, 2015 at 9:05 pm
                              Modi and his ministers have shown total immaturity in this matter. The result is that Myanmar Govt. had to refute the Indian claims out of embarrment. Such actions have taken place many a time in the past but the Government of the day never publicized it. This BJP Govt. in their zeal of self glorification has put India's security at risk because the enemy as well as the neighbors who would like to help will now be wary because such disclosure would lower their sovereign dignity in the eyes of the world. BJP ministers should learn to keep their mouths shut. Main culprit is Ajit Doval himself. Never in the past has any NSA sought so much personal publicity as this man has sought- telling the press as to how he dropped out of PM's delegation to supervise and coordinate the attack. That is totally immature to say the least.
                              Reply
                              1. H
                                HG KETKAR
                                Jun 10, 2015 at 11:27 am
                                Kudos to Indian Air Force, Indian Army and lastly the NDA Government, which acted with lion heartedly against the extremists/terrorists who stationed across the border of India-Mymar. BUT, there is a very big questionmark with this type of action. Can India retaliate against stan for the same reason in a new thinking of the NDA government. In fact, there is a new thinking on the part of government on this aspect, the terrorists attack from the stani side is happening quite regularly since long and even after taking over by NDA govt, the situation is standstill. Now, it is to see whether the Government come into act with similar atude and perception against the stani trained extremists along the stani side of Border in J&K. I am sure that the Indian Army, Indian Air Force is very much capable, but only the policy of the Central government, for which no action has been taken so far for quite a long time now.
                                Reply
                                1. F
                                  freethinker
                                  Jun 10, 2015 at 2:02 pm
                                  If Indian intelligence is so good then why don't the give the number of casualties in the raids? Only then can the nation know how effective the army action was.
                                  Reply
                                  1. L
                                    Lovely
                                    Jun 10, 2015 at 8:31 pm
                                    India is not Israel . OK -- We have 3 rd rated equipments and poor intelligence net work.And also 5* activists . For eg INSAS rifle produced by India is useless , ask any soldier. But present govt has made some good begining. Wait and watch.
                                    Reply
                                    1. L
                                      Lovely
                                      Jun 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm
                                      It seems you are a from terror land?
                                      Reply
                                      1. L
                                        Lovely
                                        Jun 10, 2015 at 8:31 pm
                                        This one is a very major operation.
                                        Reply
                                        1. L
                                          Lovely
                                          Jun 10, 2015 at 8:27 pm
                                          You are right , but any Delhiite will go there?
                                          Reply
                                          1. k
                                            kalasardar007
                                            Jun 10, 2015 at 10:52 am
                                            this is IE anti-modi writing. successful operation happened only because we have 56 inch prime minister. This decade long stuff is just make-believe. Please check facebook and twitter. Since we are democracy, only conclusions with highest number of people having them should be the right conclusions. So my conclusion- that this particular military operation happened because of our prime minister is the right one.
                                            Reply
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