GUWAHATI, FEBRUARY 5: Life has become difficult for the militants of the Northeast camping in Myanmar for a long time as they have come under pressure from the Myanmar Army personnel and according to reports available, the militants have been forced to shift their camps on a number of times during the past 1 month.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that with the improvement of the relation between India and Myanmar, the Government of the neighbouring country has started putting pressure on the militant groups using the territory of that country as safe sanctuary for quite some time. Sources revealed that according to inputs available, though the Myanmar army has not launched an all out offensive against the militants, life has become difficult for all the militant groups.
The Myanmar Army has started putting pressure on the militants to leave the territory of that country and on the face of increasing pressure, the militant groups shifted their camps several times. However, till date, there is no report of Myanmar Army personnel opening fire or taking aggressive action against the militants and only a few abandoned camps were burnt down.
Security sources said that even today, most of the active militant groups of the Northeast have bases in Myanmar and most of them use the facilities of the NSCN (K). Though the exact number of the militants staying in Myanmar is yet to be ascertained, security agencies are of the view that at least 2000 members of the active militant groups are still in the neighbouring country, which include around 150 members of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and around a hundred of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (S).
Security agencies are of the view that the striking power of the militant groups is now limited to few areas after they lost their bases in Bhutan and Bangladesh and if they lose their bases in Myanmar, it would be impossible for the ultras to sustain themselves. The militants are taking advantage of the terrain along the India-Myanmar border and the fact that there was very little presence of Myanmar Army in the Taga area of the neighbouring country, where they are taking shelter. But the situation is changing because after repeated requests by the Government of India, Myanmar Army movement in that area has increased. The Government of Myanmar has also accepted in principle the proposal of the Government of India to launch coordinated operations against militants.
Meanwhile, sources also stressed the need for expediting the pace of infrastructure development along the international border with Myanmar and pointed out that though the Assam Rifles was entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the international border, most camps of the force are located well inside the Indian territory because of lack of proper infrastructure to set up camps near the zero line. (Courtesy: AT)