by Arakan Indobhasa
by Arakan Indobhasa
The government is set to ink a strategic agreement to operationalise a 3,200-km road link from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand) to enhance regional co-operation later in November this year.
The India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) trilateral highway, which entails linking India to Myanmar and then further to Southeast Asia, has been taken up as priority by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A senior official in the Ministry of Road, Transport & Highways (MoRTH) said, “The protocol has been cleared. There is a slight glitch with customs, a meeting to sort out the same will be held in September. Myanmar needs four months for parliamentary approval. The agreement will be signed by November.”
Modi is learnt to be very keen that effective and credible infrastructure links be established to enhance regional co-operation between South Asia and Southeast Asia. Senior ministry officials say the trilateral highway will drastically enhance the connectivity between the Mekong sub-region and India and prove to be a game-changer for India’s northeast region. It is an important component in the government’s plans to ramp up its “Look East” policy to the newly coined “Act East” policy.
“The India-Myanmar-Thailand road link has been designed to bridge emerging economies in the Asean and Saarc regions. The pact is scheduled to become operational shortly and to mark the occasion a car rally would be held before March 2016”, added the official. On implementation, the sub-region will get access to the larger Asean market through seamless passenger and cargo movement.
# Modi is keen that credible infrastructure links be established to enhance co-operation between South Asia and Southeast Asia
# Govt plans to ramp up its “Look East” policy to “Act East” policy
Says citizens' group after visiting Patuakhali, Barguna identifying oppression, land grabbing by influential people as key reasons
The Daily Star
Myanmarese separatist group Arakan Army swooped on a Border Guard Bangladesh patrol team in Boro Modak area of Thanchi in Bandarban yesterday morning, leading to a gun battle that left one nayek injured.
By Prashanth Parameswaran
August 28, 2015
Bangladesh has launched a raid against Myanmar separatists following a gun battle between local forces and the Arakan Army, local media sources reported August 27.
The remote hills on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border have been home to a range of separatist groups from neighboring Myanmar for decades. The groups – including the Arakan Army which was formed in 2009 and fights for the independence of Arakan state – have long posed a problem for Bangladesh’s security forces along a poorly-policed border.
This particular raid comes after an attack by the Arakan Army on Bangladesh border forces in Thanchi in Bandarban. On Wednesday (August 26) morning at around 9:30am local time, members of the Arakan Army opened fire on a team of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) when they were on patrol with army members on a vessel. The incident came just a day after Bangladesh forces had seized 10 Arabian horses from Arakan Army men.
In response, BGB Director General Maj. Gen Aziz said that Bangladesh had immediately sent in reinforcements – including troops and a jet of the Bangladesh Air Force – in a gun battle that continued until around 3:00pm.
After the separatists retreated, Aziz said the BGB and army members had launched a combined operation against them, who he said were in remote bordering forests in Bandarban. He said that additional BGB and army troop reinforcements would subsequently be under way.
“We are sending more force[s] there and will launch an all-out operation tomorrow [Thursday] to flush them out,” Aziz told The Daily Star over the phone.
In addition, he also said that Bangladesh had contacted the Myanmar Army through their embassy in Dhaka and requested that they seal their side of the border so the separatists would not have an opportunity to escape.
“We have requested the Myanmar army to seal the border on their side so that they [Myanmar Army] could take action against the separatists during the drive,” he reportedly said, adding that Naypyidaw had assured Dhaka of what The Daily Star described as “all sorts of help.”
The Army has also claimed that it has nabbed a member of the Arakan Army during a raid between Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Rangamati district. Major Taslim of the 305th Infantry Brigade told bdnews24 via email that he was found with Arakan Army uniforms, laptops, digital cameras, motorcycles and two horses in his possession. The rebels are also believed to have sustained between eight to 20 casualties, based on preliminary eyewitness reports.
The Arakan Army, for its part, has claimed that the whole situation has been a product of misunderstanding which it blames on BGB officers. Lunn Shwe of the Arakan Army told Adil Sakhawat of Dhaka Tribune that the initial fighting took place when the BGB officers opened fire despite Arakan Army members trying to explain that they were not enemies of Bangladesh when they encountered them.
“We do not have any policy [or] intentions to have this kind of fight with our neighbors but it was just a horrible misunderstanding and a deplorable incident. From our side we shall try to solve this through peaceful means,” he said.