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dna special: In Myanmar, PM-level talks to focus on insurgent groups

Monday, 3 March 2014 - 8:30am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold bilateral talks with his Myanmar counterpart Thein Sein to bring focus on anti-India insurgent groups using safe hideouts in Myanmar to launch terror activities in the northeastern states.

Singh will visit capital Naypyitaw for the seven-member Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) on March 4.

The Indian security establishment is a worried lot due to delicate situation in the northeastern states in the light of an increasing chorus for statehood demands and increasing activities of anti-India insurgent groups, such as the People's Liberation Army (PLA), United National Liberation Front (UNLF) from Manipur, United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), an anti-peace talks faction from Assam and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim- Khaplang (NSCN-K) of Nagaland.

According to intelligence assessment, not only have these groups entrenched themselves along the Indo-Myanmar border and the northern Myanmar-China border, but they've also scaled up smuggling of Chinese arms via the porous 1,600-km border. Many of these lethal arms are also being routed to the CPI (Maoist).

Sources said that the Indian delegation, of which national security advisor Shivshankar Menon is a member, will impress upon Myanmar to handover the leaders of these insurgent groups that have establishment training camps there.

India will also talk about strengthening joint border mechanism for effective border guarding to check arms smuggling. Dimapur, a town in Nagaland bordering Assam, has become the hub for the collection of sophisticated arms smuggled from across the border, especially from Myanmar. Mizoram has also emerged as a major conduit for arms smuggling from Myanmar. The problem is aggravated because of weak deployment of border guards, especially on the Myanmar side.

India is keen to launch a joint military action against the insurgent groups that have based their camps 20-50 km inside Myanmar along the Indian border.

India also wants Myanmar to have stronger control in its northern areas touching China's Yunnan province and Thailand that are being used by ULFA for training camps and to plan terror attacks in the northeast.
Earlier, India's requests on similar lines were not entertained by Myanmar. But with increasing cooperation and focus on increasing connectivity and establishing the architecture of sub-regional economic cooperation, India is hopeful of better understanding on Myanmar's part on this issue.

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