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India to Crackdown Burma’s Chin Rebels

Mizzima News , June 3, 2005 – New Delhi:  A major crackdown on Chin National Front (CNF) is on the cards with the Ministry of Home Affairs of Government of India directing Mizoram Government and Assam Rifles to launch operation to evict the ultras from Indian soil.

Its pay back time for Government of India as Burmese Government kept its words by cracking down on Indian rebel groups operating out of bases in Burma. The agreement to mount operations against underground militant outfits operating out of each other’s territory was sealed last October when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed during the State visit of Head of Burmese Government, Senior General Than Shwe.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding resulted in coordinated army operations against the North East based militant outfits last winters that in Burma. The militant outfits that were targeted included the PLA, UNLF, KYKL PREPAK and Khaplang faction of the NSCN.

With the Indian Army sealing the international border in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh sectors, the rebels groups sustained maximum damage and were left in total disarray.

The Indian Government that was fighting the rebels in Manipur couldn’t have thanked the military junta in Burma enough. And what better way to repay that launching similar operations this side of the border.

The issue has assumed such urgency that the Indian Home Ministry during the last fortnight convened two high-level meetings one in Delhi and the other in Aizawl, Mizoram to fine-tune the strategy.

The only hitch for the Indian Government appears to be reluctance of the Mizoram Police force to mount a crackdown.

On May 29 a high-level delegation headed by Special Secretary Internal Security Anil Choudhury and Joint Secretary (North East), Rajiv Agarwal visited Mizoram and discussed plans to launch operation against Chin undergrounds.

The Commandant of the 41st India Reserve Battalion, Colonel, Madhu Mutatkar briefed the visiting officials. The Army commanders said that they were ready to assist the Mizoram Police in the crackdown on the Chin undergrounds.

The Indian security agencies have identified Camp Victoria of the Chin located inside the Indian Territories as the prime target.

The Home Ministry team then held a meeting with the top Mizoram Government officials including the Director General of Police and pressed for the need to mount the crackdown without further delay.

According to officials of the Home Ministry in Delhi the matter has been taken up with the Governor of the State when the Special Secretary called on him.

The Special Secretary raised the issue of camps of Chin underground in Mizoram. He especially mentioned about the so-called Victoria Camp, said an official of the Home Ministry.

The Special Secretary has requested the Mizoram Government for immediate action to get the camp evacuated by the armed Chin underground.

“The presence of a large group of foreign underground is a clear violation of laws of the land and an impediment in our good relations with the neighbouring country of Myanmar. This is just not acceptable,” said the official briefing newsmen today.

During Senior General’s October visit, the two sides agreed that maintenance of peace and security along the border areas was an essential pre-requisite to successful implementation of cross border projects and to bringing about economic prosperity in the area. Both sides reiterated their firm determination to maintaining peace, stability and tranquility along the entire length of their common border.

The Burmese Government reiterated that it would not allow insurgent activities against India from its soil. The Indian side thanked the Burmese side for the assurance. Both sides agreed to take necessary steps to prevent cross border crimes, including drug trafficking and arms smuggling, and to upgrade substantially bilateral cooperation in this context. The deal was sealed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Non-traditional Security Issues.

As soaps to Mizoram Government, the Ministry of Home Affairs agreed to sympathetically consider its long-pending demand for raising an additional India Reserve Battalion.

The Indian Government also agreed to look at the demand for construction of roads in Burma, especially to Fallan and Tidim and multi-modal transport project on Kaladyne River to Akyab (Sittwe) Port in Burma. The Mizoram Government was assured that work would soon start on the projects.

The joint declaration signed during the Burma’s top General’s visit stated that the two sides fully shared the view that economic development of the region along the India-Burma border required special focus. Both sides expressed satisfaction that several other cross-border projects such as the Tamanthi Hydroelectric Project, the Rhi-Tiddim and Rhi-Falam roads and the Kaladan Multi-modal Transport Project were on the anvil.

It was decided that, keeping in view the vital importance of these projects to the economic welfare of the peoples living in the border areas and to improving connectivity between the two countries, their implementation should be expedited.

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