Myanmar bombs on militias near Indian borders!

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Chin National Army (CNA) camp near Mizoram border.

By Haider Abbas

There is an uneasy quite on the international India-Myanmar border, as it has come to be known that Myanmar military has carpet bombed Myanmar rebel training camp, within a few kilometers from the Indian border in Mizoram. The report from The Guardian 1 on January 11, informed, that ‘the Myanmar military launched an airstrike on a prominent training camp for pro-democracy forces close to the Indian border, with jets dropping at least two bombs inside Indian territory according to eyewitnesses.

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Myanmar military had overturned the Aung San Suu Kyi government in February 2021, and is ‘engaged in a bloody battle to crush pro-democracy insurgents, began bombing Camp Victoria in Myanmar’s Chin state. Camp Victoria serves as the headquarters of Chin National Army (CNA), an ethnic armed group which is fighting alongside other rebel groups to restore democracy in Myanmar, under the banner of People’s Defence Force (PDF).’ It is not clear if the bombing was inside the Indian territory, but ‘the rebels said some jets crossed over the Tiau river, which serves as the border between India and Myanmar. Two locals on the Indian side in Farkawan village, located in the state of Mizoram, said that two bombs were dropped on the India side of the border but no one was hurt. Rama, president of Farkawan village council, who uses a single name, confirmed the bombings on the Indian side, which he said had caused “panic” in their village and fear of more strikes violating the border areas.’

It may well be understood that there is a studied silence on the Indian side and there is no reaction as yet, whether the bombing happened inside the Indian territory, but it is a well known fact that certain ethnic groups in Myanmar, have a shared ethnic background, with people from inside Indian Mizoram, and who, are also sympathetic towards people who are rebels of the Chin state in Myanmar. The China National Front is engaged in a struggle for a federal system in Myanmar, and is, a conglomerate of many ethnic groups in the northern part of Myanmar. It has a Chin National Army (CNA) as well which consists of around 3000 militias or soldiers, and this CNA, had every inkling that sooner or later Myanmar army was to attack them. A news published in EastMojo 2 on February 12, 2021, had highlighted the issue, which said that CNA had ‘sought refuge in Mizoram as not sure what Myanmar Army (was) going to do,’
There had also been lot of reports of smuggling of weapons and medicine supplies to rebels, towards which Indian authorities have largely feigned a deliberate ignorance,  and such, activities have since long gone unabated .  ‘It is the first time that Camp Victoria in Chin has been targeted with aerial bombings.’  The rebels had to be taken by a surprise as it was unexpected that a bombing would happen on a camp which was on almost at the Indian territory.  Even the proximity with the Indian border could not deter Myanmar MIG-29 to bomb the rebels out! There has been a shut-down in Chin State in protests to the strikes.

There is no doubt that the bombing took place very ‘dangerously close’ to the Indian border, and which, cannot be possible until there is a support to Myanmar against India, which of course, comes from China. The present regime is considered close to Beijing which in a way has also signaled that Myanmar would engage into a hot-pursuit on elements detrimental to its security, something, which India has not been able to perform, against Pakistan, despite the reported numerous camps operating against India inside Pakistan border as well as inside the Pakistan side of Kashmir.

Myanmar by its act, has proven to have cared-little for Indian sensitivities, all the while as India has been involved in constructive-diplomacy  vis a vis Myanmar, by abstaining from vote at UN Security Council for sanctions against Myanmar on the lines of Europe, US and Japan etc. The sanctions on Myanmar, however, have not yielded any positive result, and democracy continues to be in peril, while Myanmar has drifted more towards China! This is what India need to look into. But, nevertheless, Myanmar is looking into the eye of a civil war, as the ethnic groups are likely to rebel against the military establishment. A report on  BBC 3 on February 1, 2022 has warned of it in a report. As a matter of fact, Myanmar military has been engaged into killing thousands and thousands of Rohingya (Bangladeshi) Muslims and displaced millions out-of-its-borders, into Bangladesh, and had orchestrated one of the worst genocide in the recent years.  Aung San Suu Kyi, the pitiable paragon of democracy (sic) had remained a muted spectator!

India has taken an almost pro-Myanmar stand, irrespective of the government there, due to the factors pertaining from its troubled northern-states, which are altogether known as seven-sisters at the Siliguri Corridor aka Chicken-Neck Corridor, which China has long set its eyes upon. India just cannot hazard militia-camps inside Myanmar set-up to target India with Chinese help.  Myanmar government has been also helpful to India to not let its soil be used against it. This has also made India to jettison its resources into Kaladan Multi Modal Transport from Kolkata to connect with Sittwe Port in Myanmar, which India is developing, so as to avert any Chinese misadventure at the Chicken-Neck corridor. This port is now ready for operations.

How Myanmar situation will unfold, and will India officially addresses Myanmar over bombing near its borders is yet to be seen. Will Myanmar go into the democracy-fold, or make a permanent switch-off from it, or will it get engulfed into any civil-wear is all yet to unfold. However, India is to keep a keen watch not only on what’s happening inside Myanmar but also on its borders with it. Let’s see what is to happen next.

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The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international poltics.

References:
1-https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/11/myanmar-junta-hit-indian-territory-during-strike-on-rebel-camp-say-witnesses

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Sought refuge in Mizoram as not sure what Myanmar Army is going to do: Chin National Army

3- https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-60144957

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