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Myanmar army may target NSCN (K) Hqs in Taga: Intel

NEW DELHI: With NSCN (K) staying out of the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signed on Friday between Myanmar and eight ethnic armed groups (EAGs), India feels it is a matter of time before Myanmar Army targets the outfit’s headquarters in Taga in Myanmar Naga Hills (MNH).

According to sources in the Indian intelligence establishment, the immunity that NSCN (K) had enjoyed in Myanmar by virtue of its ceasefire arrangement with Yangon has ended as NCA, signed in Nay Pyi Taw, supersedes all previous ceasefire agreements. In fact, following NSCN (K)’s refusal to be part of the pact that requires all signatories to amalgamate their independent armed militias into regular army, Myanmar troops have launched punitive operations against the outfit’s facilities in upper MNH. 

Two major bases at Ponyu and Langhting have been burnt down and a few weapons seized, driving out cadres to the forests and mountain hideouts. “The next target could be another major establishment at Yanching and NSCN (K) headquarters in Taga,” a senior intelligence official told TOI. The official said NCA, for which India pushed hard from behind the scenes, was a win-win situation as it showcased India as a key player in establishing regional peace and helping its neighbours deal with ethnic conflicts.

“That national security advisor Ajit Doval and Naga interlocutor R N Ravi travelled to Myanmar to witness the NCA signing ceremony indicates the importance India attaches to its neighbourhood and the peace process in Myanmar,” said an officer.

“Also, NSCN (K)’s not signing NCA has created a legal framework for us to get Yangon to hit its bases in Myanmar. The modalities on whether this crackdown will be a joint one by Indian and Myanmar forces or involve just the Myanmar Army, only time will tell,” he added.

By launching fresh raids on NSCN (K)’s key bases in MNH, Myanmar will be helping India tackle the outfit, which had killed 18 Army personnel in a June ambush in Manipur, for a second time. The retaliatory strikes by the Indian Army on NSCN (K) camps across the Nagaland and Manipur border soon after the ambush, were made possible by the tacit approval of Myanmar authorities.

According to intelligence sources, NSCN (K) is not the only one troubled by fresh operations launched by Myanmar Army in the wake of its refusal to sign the NCA. Other Indian insurgent groups camping in MNH region, like Ulfa and NDFB (S), are also in a state of panic and have abandoned many camps and hideouts.

“Myanmar remains the last foreign sanctuary for Indian insurgent groups (IIGs) from the north-east. India will actively engage the Myanmar government to ensure that IIGs do not continue to find safe shelter and base to carry out anti-India activities,” said an officer.

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