Indian minister admits troops crossed into Myanmar to attack Naga, Manipuri rebels

India has admitted its para commandos crossed the border into Myanmar to attack Naga and Manipuri rebel bases on Tuesday.

Published : 10 June 2015, 04:55 AM
Updated : 10 June 2015, 05:23 AM

The attacks were launched between 3am and 4am very early at dawn on Tuesday.

Indian envoy to Myanmar Gautam Mukhopadhayay later informed the Myanmar foreign ministry of the 'hot pursuit attacks' after offices opened in Myanmar—but by then the  commandos were safely back in Indian territory .

Indian junior information minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told TV channels late on Tuesday night that Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally ordered the 'hot pursuit operations' planed by the Indian army.

"Be it Yemen or Iraq or anywhere else, attacks on Indians anywhere would be unacceptable. We need to send a message to our neighbours who harbour terrorists."

Rathore, a former Olympic silver medallist shooter and a former army colonel himself, that the para commando operation was launched after careful gathering of intelligence on rebel locations inside Myanmar territory.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

"The Myanmar army is busy handling other insurgencies. They don't have much presence on our borders and the terrorists are taking advantage of that. We decided to teach them a lesson," Rathore told the TV channels.

Indian military officials say the commandos from the 21st Para Regiment crossed the border at two—possibly three points—for 'surgical strikes' at rebel bases.

The base across Noklak in Nagaland's Tuensang district was a major base of NSCN (Khaplang faction) while the one across Chassad in Manipur's Ukhrul district was a mixed base of NSCN(K) and Manipuri groups KYKL and KCP. Possibly a third base of the KYKL opposite Chandel district at a place called Onzia was also attacked.

Not less than 300 to 400 commandos were involved, it is reliably learnt.

Indian military sources say 'significant casualties' was inflicted on the rebels. Some officials say the rebels lost between 30 to 50 fighters in the surprise raids.

The possibility of other pro-ceasefire Naga rebels in helping the Indian commandos strike at these bases cannot be ruled out.