Eyes on Burma as India prepares talks with militants Skip to main content

Eyes on Burma as India prepares talks with militants


Nava Thakuria:
The military ruled Burma (Myanmar) emerges as an important actor on the projected peace talks between the Union government of India and the banned militant group, United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). An active and influential underground outfit of Northeast India, the ULFA is fighting New Delhi for its core demand of sovereignty for Assam (out of India). The three decades old armed outfit is understood to be responsible for the killing of thousands of people in the State.

The militant outfit reportedly runs few training camps inside the jungles of northern Burma. The cadres of ULFA are using those hideouts, mostly in Sagaing division and Kachin province of Burma, for many years. New Delhi is worried about the hideouts, which have been used by many Northeast militants, and pursuing the military government in Rangoon (now Nay Pie Taw) to take actions against those militants. However the Burmese junta is yet to initiate for an affective approach to the problem, though they had not hesitated to play tricks with the Indian government for their selfish interest time to time.

The Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram, responsible for domestic law and order situation, expressed hope that the Burmese army would launch crack down operation against the Northeastern militants taking shelter inside that country.

In his recent visit to Itanagar, the Tibet and Burma bordering Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, Chidambaram asserted that the militants using the forests of northern Burma as their hide outs remain security threat to India.

New Delhi still believes that ULFA’s military chief Paresh Barua is hiding some where in Burma-China border. The notorious militant leader, as the Indian security agency claims, had recently left Bangladesh for hiding in Burma. Barua might had come to know about the change of Dhaka’s heart towards New Delhi that finally resulted in deporting some top ULFA leaders to India (from Bangladesh) recently.

Meanwhile, in response to the voices of local people, the Assam government is tying to create a peaceful ambience. Recently Dispur played an important role in the release of two top ULFA leaders. Following the government’s submissions at the designated TADA court in Guwahati on February 16 that Dispur had no objection if ULFA vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi and publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary were given bail, both were granted the same on February 23 last. The court only directed them not to leave Guwahati without prior information and asked them to report to local police stations if they had to leave for their home towns.

The local media remains speculative but positive about the talks. Similarly, various socio-political and advocacy groups of the State came out with their official statements that they want the peace as early as possible. They are unanimous that the common people can not afford the insurgency turned terrorism for decades. Rather they want development and prosperity in a peaceful ambience.

During his latest visit to Northeast, the Indian Union home secretary GK Pillai expressed hope that ULFA leaders would attend the talks. He even clarified that New Delhi would not insist on a formal letter from the outfit expressing its eagerness for discussion.

Mentionable that, the issue of a formal letter from the ULFA leaders remained a major hurdle for the talks between the government and the underground outfit. The Indian Union home minister P Chidambaram had earlier asked for such a letter and the Assam chief minister supported him.

Talking about Paresh Barua, the home secretary Pillai disclosed that he was plying somewhere along the Kachin-China border. He also confirmed that New Delhi had reiterated its request to the Burmese junta to flush out the Northeastern militants from their soil. He expected that Burma would soon launch the operation against the militants.

But the Indian government made it clear that it would go for talks with the militant outfit even without the presence of hard-liner Paresh Barua.

New Delhi maintains that it would continue its effort to bring all the left out ULFA leaders to the negotiation table, who want to talk to the government under the parameters of Indian constitution, in the coming days.

Narinjara News


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