When Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visited Myanmar last month, an assurance — the first of its kind — came from the Myanmarese government that Northeast India militant groups settled in that country would be flushed out and that it would not allow any anti-India activities in its territory. After the visit, the Myanmarese government reportedly asked the Northeast militant groups to leave that country by June 10 — a response that was appreciated by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who expressed hope that the Myanmarese government would hand over all arrested Northeast militants to India. The deadline of June 10 is already over, but the Myanmarese government is yet to crack down on any Northeast militant groups operating from there.
Is the Myanmarese government indulging in ruse in so far as its loud and clear assurance to India is concerned? Or is it that the Myanmarese Army and its intelligence have their own road map that precludes any real crackdown on Northeast militant groups there? These posers assume importance in the wake of reports that the June 10 deadline was actually set by the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) for four Manipuri militant outfits — United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) — to leave Myanmar; the NSCN(K) being the most powerful Northeast militant group operating from that country and provides shelter to other outfits from this region, including the Paresh Baruah faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). If the June 10 deadline story is indeed so, one would infer that the Myanmarese government has simply exercised a choice of not cracking down on any Northeast militant groups under the protective umbrella of the NSCN(K) while it might act tough against the groups that the NSCN(K) wants out. But it raises another question: Why should that choice be exercised? Is it because of the five-point ceasefire agreement that the NSCN(K) signed with the Myanmarese government on April 9? Or is it because the Myanmarese Army is still the most powerful institution in that country that the NSCN(K) has a furtive deal with, under which a suitable give-and-take policy has been effected? And, then, what about reports that the Northeast militant groups settled in that country have been paying the Myanmarese Army and its intelligence through the NSCN(K)?
The NSCN(K) cannot operate so powerfully in Myanmar as has come to light without support from the Myanmarese Army — in the same manner as Kashmiri terrorists cannot get arms training in Pakistan without help from the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Likewise, the fugitive and recalcitrant commander-in-chief of the ULFA, Paresh Baruah, cannot operate blissfully in the Ruili area along the Myanmar-China border, as reported, without the knowledge and aid of the Myanmarese Army and its intelligence. Or perhaps the NSCN(K) has a pact with the Myanmarese Army and its intelligence not to touch Baruah because both the outfits have a common agenda — the enterprise of terrorism, including of course illegal arms dealing, in the garb of ‘fighting the common enemy called India’ for their people’s ‘liberation’!
The point is simple: Given the above, especially the June 10 deadline fraud, it is incumbent on the Indian government to simply ask the Myanmarese government as to why the deadline has not been met and what is stopping it from cracking down on the NSCN(K), with which the Indian government has a ceasefire agreement, and its disciple-outfits like the Paresh Baruah faction of the ULFA? It seems it is time for some really inconvenient questions too, of which one could be: Is China dictating terms to Myanmar vis-à-vis militant leaders like Khaplang and Baruah? It is the candour of such questions that ought now to be in display, while our security-intelligence grid cannot fail to ensure that Northeast militants from Myanmar do not sneak into this region and cause mayhem — Team Paresh Baruah can be into anything to prove its presence and sustainability.