On Friday, Myanmar handed over 22 militants involved in insurgency operations in the North-East to the Indian Government after Ajit Doval’s nudge, reported Hindustan Times. The militants were extradited from Myanmar via a special aircraft.
Extradited Militants from Myanmar
Reportedly, the 10 militants are ‘wanted’ criminals in Assam while 12 are wanted in Manipur. They were associated with UNLF, PREPAK (Pro), KYKL, PLA in Manipur and NDFB (S), and KLO in Assam and were apprehended from Sagaing Region by the Myanmar army. The successful operation was led by Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Adviser. India also secured the custody of several long-standing wanted criminals such as Lieutenant Peshuram Lesharam of PREPAK (Pro), Home Secretary of NDFB (S) Rajen Dimari, and UNLF Captain Santomba Ningthaujam.
Diplomatic victory for India
A top official said, “This is a big step for the Myanmar government and shows the deepening ties between the two countries. The militants will be handed over to the local police in both the states.” The special flight will first halt in Imphal, Manipur, before setting off for Guwahati, Assam.
According to a senior national security planner, the decision of the Myanmar Government to hand over wanted North-East insurgents, for the first time, is the result of enhanced defence and intelligence co-operation between the two countries. Hitting out at Pakistan, another senior official said that if Pakistan co-operated with India, then, there would not have been terror groups in Pakistan as well.
Myanmar’s decision to extradite the militants is likely to act as a deterrent for other insurgents who have made use of the 1800 long border with ‘treacherous terrain’ to shield themselves. Ever since the joint operations are being conducted by both the militaries, insurgent groups have been running for cover. In the first phase, Myanmar targeted terror camps in Taga in Arunachal Pradesh, followed by Nilgiri, Arakan, and Haukyat in the second phase.
Cross-border Military Operations
In a coordinated operation named “Operation Sunshine-2”, the Indian army along with Myanmar troops conducted a 3-week long operation targeting several militant groups operating in the border regions of Manipur, Nagaland, and Assam in June last year.
The operation conducted between May 16 and June 8 targeted several militant outfits including the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), the NSCN (Khaplang), the United Liberation Front of Assam (I) and the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB). Reportedly, around 70-80 militants belonging to these groups were nabbed and several of their camps destroyed during the operation. A third phase of the operation may also be launched depending on actionable intelligence and ground situation.