NEW DELHI, Aug 2 – In a fresh attempt aimed at wooing Myanmar to mount crackdowns on rebels operating out of the neighbouring country, India is likely to offer supply of non-combat military equipment, besides training its army personnel.
The agreement is expected to be firmed up during the ongoing visit of Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services of Myanmar, General Min Aung Hlaing. The Myanmar Army Chief began the Delhi-leg of his tour on Thursday.
The Chief of Myanmar Army, on an eight-day tour of India, is scheduled to hold discussions with Defence Minister A.K. Antony and the three Service Chiefs. The visiting General would also visit the Eastern Army Command in Kolkata. He has already paid a visit to Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam.
Sources said that India has decided to offer to train more Myanmar Army personnel and supply them with military equipment to bolster the strength of its Army to take on the militants of the North-East operating out of the neighbouring country. Myanmar and India share 1,600-km-long land border, which is virtually open.
“India has been urging Myanmar to crack down on the insurgents from north eastern region. Myanmar has become a haven for North East rebels to regroup and launch attacks on India,” said sources.
India has also decided to give more equipment to the Myanmar Army including earth moving machines, added sources.
Many rebel groups of Manipur and anti-talk faction of ULFA, besides Khaplang faction of NSCN, have set up bases in the neighbouring country. The Khaplang faction, meanwhile, has signed a ceasefire pact with the Government of Myanmar, shocking North Block, which also has a similar pact with the Khaplang faction.
New Delhi has been under pressure of the north-eastern States including Assam to press Myanmar to flush out the rebels like Bhutan and Bangladesh did.
At the last meeting of the Chief Ministers on Internal Security, several Chief Ministers closed ranks in raising the issue.
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla had said by sharing “porous” international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, the State remains prone to a host of illegal activities like smuggling of weapons and narcotics.
“Mizoram shares 404-km-long porous international borders with Myanmar, where free movement regime is allowed. The Indo-Myanmar unfenced border is characterised by hostile terrain covered with dense canopy. Hence, Assam Rifles alone cannot effectively monitor the Indo-Myanmar border,” he said.
This, he said, has a direct bearing on the internal security of not just Mizoram but also “for the whole north-eastern region, as Indian insurgent outfits use it as a conduit for arms smuggling and for crossing over to neighbouring countries for seeking shelter or training”.
Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh also asked for accelerating border fencing works. “The 400-km-long unfenced Indo-Myanmar border with Manipur is a cause of concern for the State’s internal security as numerous crimes are taking place along this porous border,” he said.