In a far-reaching move during the last days of the UPA-II government, India and Myanmar have agreed to “share real-time intelligence” to fight Indian insurgent groups operating out of the border region. This is the first time an agreement towards cooperation on border areas has taken place between Delhi and Nay Pyi Taw.
This became operational as the two sides inked a pact on May 8 to enhance security cooperation in combating the key issues of insurgency, arms smuggling and human trafficking. Myanmar is India’s only land bridge to Southeast Asia, and the two share more than 1,600 km long border.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Myanmar’s Deputy Minister of Defence Major General Kyaw Nyunt and India’s Ambassador to Myanmar Gautam Mukhopadhaya, affirming that measures would be taken to bring peace and stability in the border areas.
The pact envisages a framework for security cooperation and exchange of information between Indian and Myanmar security agencies. “This is a euphemism for real-time intelligence sharing between the two countries,” a high-level government source told The Sunday Express. Sources said the agreement was ready and the approvals from the Cabinet had been taken late last year, but Myanmar’s government had to complete procedures and approvals within its system.
The fact that Myanmar signed this agreement also shows their “willingness” to manage the border areas, which has been giving some trouble to the relationship. The sense in New Delhi is that Myanmar realised the importance of the pact, and moved it up on their priority list. A key provision of the agreement is conduct of coordinated patrols on each side of the border and maritime boundary.