'Myanmar elections unlikely to affect NE insurgency'

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Oct 24: The outcome of the forthcoming elections in Myanmar is unlikely to have any impact on the activities of Indian insurgents operating from the bases in the neighbouring country, feels veteran Swedish jourlist, author and scholar on Indo-Burmese affairs Bertil Lintner.

Lintner, who was interacting with scribes as the 'Guest of the Month' at Guwahati Press Club, said that the military junta in India's eastern neighbor is a key player in the policies of ypyidaw.

On November 8, Myanmar will hold its first open general elections in 25 years.

"The elections are unlikely to change much the security scerio in the Indo-Myanmar theatre. Activities of the Northeast insurgents sheltered in the neighbouring country will not be affected much," he said.

To substantiate his claim, Lintner cited that the military junta in Myanmar dictates the policies related to defence, border affairs and interl security.

"As many as 56 seats in the 224-member Upper House and 110 seats in the 440-member Lower House are reserved for the military. The commander in chief of the army is the all-in-all in Myanmar where elected representatives have little power," he said.

Lintner also downplayed the recent initiative of the Myanmar government to sign a cease-fire agreement with eight armed ethnic groups, saying the groups which signed the pact were "insignificant" in the present scerio.

The senior jourlist was, however, hopeful that greater cooperation between the elected representatives of both the countries could improve bilateral economic ties to a great extent.

 Lintner is an authority on the insurgency movement in India's Northeast and neighbouring Myanmar. He often interacts with principal militant leaders of the Northeast in Myanmar.

Currently a writer with Asia Pacific Media Services, Lintner earlier worked with Far Eastern Economic Review. He has authored several books on Myanmar including 'Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency Since 1948', 'Land of Jade: A Journey from India through Northern Burma to Chi', 'The Kachin: Lords of Burma's Northern Frontier', 'Outrage: Burma's Struggle for Democracy' etc.

Lintner also said that the wily Paresh Barua, who is still "very much active" would soon lead the newly floated joint front of Northeast rebel groups United tiol Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFWSEA) as its present chief SS Khaplang is ailing.

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