In a strong response to the ambush in Manipur that left 18 soldiers dead, the Indian Army on Tuesday said it launched operations along the India-Myanmar border killing several militants involved in the attack.
The operations were carried out in coordination with Myanmar following specific intelligence inputs of more attacks being planned, said Additional Director General (Military Operations) Maj. Gen. Ranbir Singh.
“Credible and specific intelligence was received about further attacks that were being planned out by some of the groups involved in earlier attacks on our security personnel and their allies,” he said, adding that in view of the “imminent threat, an immediate response was necessary”.
“Based on intelligence, we conducted operations to counter these planned assaults. Early this morning, the Indian Army engaged two separate groups of insurgents along the Indo-Myanmar border at two locations, along Nagaland and Manipur borders.
“Significant casualties have been inflicted on them. As a consequence, threats to our civilian population and security forces was averted,” said Maj. Gen. Singh.
He gave no further details and did not take any questions.
In the worst attack it faced in three decades, the army lost 18 soldiers in the attack in Chandel district of Manipur on June 4.
Militants attacked a convoy of 6 Dogra, which was being de-inducted from the area, with rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.
The attack was seen as a major intelligence failure and the advanced weapons used also raised suspicion of international involvement.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang claimed responsibility for the killings along with the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP). The newly formed umbrella group is known as United Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFW).
The militants later reportedly slipped into Myanmar.
Army chief Gen. Dalbir Singh visited Manipur a day after the attack, and while the army remained tight-lipped over the counter measures, a major combing operation was launched.
Maj. Gen. Singh stressed the operations were conducted in tune with the Myanmar authorities, adding that India looks forward to cooperation with the neighbour in countering terrorism.
“We are in communication with the Myanmar authorities and we have traditionally had very good and close relationship with the Myanmar Army. We look forward to working with them in combating terrorism in future too,” he added.
“While ensuring peace and tranquillity along the border and in the border states, any threat to our security, safety and national integrity will meet a firm response,” he added.
Camping on the other side of the porous Myanmar border gives terrorist an easy escape route, as India shares with this neighbour an unfenced 1,643 km of border and permit a ‘free movement’ regime up to 16 km on either side.
The militants tend to slip into the Myanmar side when the Indian Army intensifies operations, as the army usually does not indulges in cross-border operations.
The last time India and Myanmar had launched a joint operation was “Golden Bird” in 1995 in which the ULFA lost several top leaders and cadres like Monpa Rongpi, and Madhurya Gohain.