Move to step up security along Myanmar border

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GUWAHATI, MAY 7: There have been reports of movements of cadres of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) in the areas bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and there is need for increasing security presence not only in the inter-state border areas but also along the border with Myanmar to check the movements of the militants. The tragic death of Bhaskar Kalita, the Officer-in-Charge of Bordumsa police outpost once again highlighted the fact that there is need for concerted efforts to check the movement of the militants. Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the militants mostly come down from their Aarakan camp in Myanmar by taking advantage of the porous international border and then they enter Assam through Arunachal Pradesh and on a few occasions they also come into India through the tri-junction of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Myanmar. They take shelter mostly in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh or Mon district of Nagaland and look for opportunity to sneak into Assam mainly for extortions and a few occasions tried to hit the security forces.
Commenting on the encounter on May 4, in which the police officer lost his life, sources said that there was a specific input of the presence of a group of militants led by Rupam Asom and Jan Asom in the area and an operation was launched. But the police officer was killed in the encounter. The ULFA(I) team came down for extortions and according to inputs a few other small teams of militants are moving around along the inter-state border areas looking for opportunities to sneak into Assam.
Sources said that though Army operations are on in Tirap, Changlang and Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh, the terrain puts the militants in an advantageous position and there is need for increasing the strength of the forces. Sources said that efforts should be made to increase the strength of police in the area as the local police personnel would be in a better position to deal with the terrain. Over the years, the NSCN (I-M) and NSCN (K) made strong bases in those 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and the other militant groups are now taking advantage of the situation.
Sources admitted that despite repeated requests by the Government of India, the Myanmar Government is yet to launch any concerted offensive to drive out the militants camping in the area and most of the active militant groups of the Northeast are operating from those camps. Sources admitted that Myanmar has its own compulsions as the presence of militants in its territory is not one of the priority areas for the neighbouring country. Moreover, Myanmar administration hardly has any presence in the areas where the militants are having their bases. The presence of a large Naga population is also helping the militants as they are using the facilities of the NSCN (K) in Myanmar. The Government of Myanmar assured India on several occasions that strong action would be taken against the rebels using the territory of that country as safe sanctuaries and a proposal was mooted for setting base of Myanmar Army in the area where the militants are taking shelter. But so far, no concerted move by Myanmar is seen on the ground, sources admitted.
Meanwhile, there is a move to increase the strength of the Assam Rifles to increase vigil along the border with Myanmar but raising new battalions will take some time. Sources said that by the time new battalions are raised, a move is on to redeploy the forces to the vulnerable locations to check free movement of militants. But redeployment will also take some time as necessary infrastructure will have to be created. (Courtesy: AT)