Delegations from the armies of India and Myanmar met at the Eastern Command Headquarters in Fort William on Wednesday evening. The eastern neighbour looked for more support from India in the form of arms and intelligence inputs. While an 18-member Myanmarese delegation, led by Brigadier General Tin Maung Ohn, was in the city to discuss these issues, another 10-member delegation was doing the same in New Delhi.
According to sources, the Myanmarese Army is looking hardware and maintenance support from Indian Army in handling the Kachin rebels and other insurgent outfits operating in different parts of Myanmar, which shares an international border along Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. The Myanmarese team, which is on a four-day visit to Eastern Command from April 23 to 27, arrive din the city on Wednesday afternoon after visiting 3 Corps Head Quarters at Rangapahar in Nagaland. While the first round of discussion was held at the earlier venue, a more detailed discussion took place at the Fort William meeting.
Sources said that besides arms and ammunition, including INSAS rifles, grenade launchers and small arms, along with armoured vehicles, Myanmarese Army also sought technical support from the Army. “Following the discussion at Rangapahar, a Indo-Myanmar joint exercise is imminent. A team from Myanmar would receive training at Counter-Insurgency &Jungle Warfare School of Vairengte in Mizoram. It is likely that 3 Corps would help by providing insurgency management training,” a senior MoD official informed. The meeting further included exchange of intelligence inputs on insurgent outfits and the scenario in smuggling of arms and drugs, sources said.
Wing Commander RK Das, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman in Kolkata, however, refused to comment on the content or the outcome of the meeting. “The Indian side at Fort William was led by Eastern Command Chief of Staff Lieutenant General KS Sivakumar. Issues of discussion included cross-border insurgency, smuggling of arms and drugs, border fencing and management. With Myanmar sharing border with four Indian states, many of the North East undergrounds outfits use Myanmar as hideout, causing serious concern to both nations,” he said. He added that these liaison meets are held every six months to review and strengthen relations, besides discussion on issues of mutual interest. The next meeting between two sides would be held in Myanmar, he said.