National security adviser Ajit Doval will travel to Yangon this week to offer intelligence and hardware cooperation to the Thein Sein government in its fight against insurgent groups operating in Myanmar.
Doval is going to Myanmar at the invitation of Major General (Retd) Aung Min, minister in President Thein Sein’s office, top government sources told Hindustan Times. The government’s move to send Doval comes a day after India conducted a surgical strike on two camps of Naga and Manipuri militants in Myanmar, inflicting “significant casualties”, an operation Yangon on Wednesday insisted as having been confined to the Indian side of the border.
Top government officials told HT that Aung Min recently wrote to Doval seeking cooperation in fighting insurgents operating against India as well as Myanmar.
“The dates of NSA Doval’s visit will be finalised shortly. The NSA will not only offer intelligence support to the Yangon government in fighting insurgents but also raise concerns over anti-India insurgent groups based in Myanmar. As Myanmar army has limited capability to take on these groups, the NSA will carry satellite imagery as well as communication intercepts of anti-India insurgent camps to help the Myanmar government take action against the militants,” said a senior official. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar also raised Indian concerns over insurgent groups during his visit to Yangon last month.
That Myanmar is concerned over increased activity of anti-India groups is evident from the fact that they informed New Delhi about the hospitalisation of Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) chief SS Khaplang in an army hospital in Yangon in April. In fact, on June 7 a senior minister of the Myanmar government went to meet Khaplang to ask him about the involvement of his group in the June 4 ambush in Manipur. Khaplang, a Hemi Naga, is a Myanmar national and is undergoing treatment for kidney-related ailments.
Khaplang abrogated a longstanding ceasefire with India on March 27. After the abrogation, Khaplang was appointed chairman of the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia — a conglomerate of NSCN(K), United Liberation Front of Assam (Paresh Barua), Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction). Intelligence reports indicate that Barua and Songbijit have been seen near the Taga camps across Arunachal Pradesh in Myanmar.
While reports indicate that two camps of NSCN (K) and a camp with Meitei militants from the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) and Kanglei Yawol Kanba Lup (KYKL) cadre camp were annihilated in the Indian Army strike on Tuesday morning, intelligence has identified Starson from Chandel district as the NSCN (K) commander behind the Chandel ambush. The insurgent group has about 2,000 fighters led by a Naga commander identified as Nikki Soim. Before the Chandel ambush, NSCN (K) rebels had hit Indian security forces in Kohima and Mon districts of Nagaland, apart from three other foiled attempts.
National security officials are looking at the recent upswing in militancy in the northeast as part of a larger plan to open a third front against India with the tacit support of Pakistani and Chinese intelligence agencies. Even though China vehemently denies having anything to do with insurgent groups in the northeast, it is common knowledge that Paresh Barua frequents Ruili in Yunan province and has been sighted as far as Kunming. Indian insurgent groups based in Myanmar mostly use Chinese-manufactured small arms.