Intelligence sharing talks with Myanmar next week: Arms smuggling, drug trafficking, border management, trade also on the agenda
By From Agency
New Delhi, December 24: India and Myanmar are scheduled to hold talks on security issues early next week. Myanmar’s Minister for Home Affairs U Phone Swi will be arriving here to conduct talks with Home Secretary GK Pillai.
A Home Ministry spokesman here on Friday said that India would raise the issue of activities of insurgent groups along Myanmar’s borders.
“Issues relating to strengthening of intelligence sharing mechanism between the two countries, arms smuggling, drug trafficking, border management, trade, etc, would also be discussed at the proposed meeting,” he added.
Last July, during the visit of Myanmarese military ruler General Than Shwe, both sides had pledged to maintain peace and stability in the region and not to allow their territories to be used for activities inimical to the other.
For India, Myanmar is a bridge to Southeast Asia. In fact, it is a bridge between the countries comprising the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or SAARC (where Myanmar has an “observer” status) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Indian insurgent groups (NSCN, ULFA and Manipur rebels, among others) have been allegedly operating out of bases in the weakly controlled areas across the borders.In April-May 1995, during Operation Golden Bird, which was Indo-Myanmar joint operation, approximately 40 insurgents were killed and a huge cache of arms was recovered. In November 2001, the Myanmar Army had raided several Manipuri rebel bases and recovered 1,500 guns from 200 rebels.
It may be recalled that Hueiyen Lanpao had published on December 21 a report that Indian security forces can now enter Myanmar in hot pursuit to hunt for UG cadres after taking due permission from Myanmarese authorities.
Further that in order to aid Indian security forces Myanmarese security officials had promised to learn English or Hindi to overcome communication problems. Officers from the Indian home ministry and Myanmar’s Chin state had agreed to share information on cross-border terrorism.