The armies of India and Myanmar conducted a "coordinated operation" from February 17 to March 2 against insurgents in Myanmarese territory to avert a possible threat to the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project, official sources said. However, the Indian Army did not cross the border during the operation, they said.
The focus of the operation was to crack down on the members of the Arakan Army, an insurgent group in Myanmar, the sources said. The members of the Arakan Army had also moved close to the international border along Mizoram, they said.
The sources added that during the operation, the Indian Army beefed up the security along the border from Nagaland and Manipur to ensure that the insurgents do not cross over to the Indian side.
The Indian Army also helped the Myanmarese Army by providing them intelligence, they said. There were also inputs that some members of the Arakan Army were also planning to sneak into India.
The sources said setting up of camps by the insurgent groups was being viewed as a grave concern by armies of the two countries.
The operation was also undertaken keeping in view the safety of Indian workers engaged in the project. After a series of meetings between personnel from both the countries, it was decided to carry out the coordinated operation. Additional troops were moved to the international border areas, besides deploying the Assam Rifles personnel.
The Assam Rifles has the responsibility to guard the international border with Myanmar. The Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project is being viewed as India's gateway to the Southeast Asia.
India entered into a framework agreement with Myanmar in April 2008 to facilitate implementation of the project. On completion, the project will help connect Mizoram with the Sittwe Port in Rakhine State of Myanmar. On the Indian side, work is on to extend the Aizawl-Saiha National Highway by 90 km to the international border at Zorinpui.
In 2015, the surgical strike inside Myanmar was carried out by a crack team of about 70 commandos of the Indian Army who finished the operation within 40 minutes, leaving 38 Naga insurgents dead and seven injured on June 10.
The decision of “hot pursuit” was taken hours after the Naga militants killed 18 soldiers in an ambush in Chandel area of Manipur on June 4 and clearance was obtained from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of June 7, soon after his return from Bangladesh, said sources privy to the details.
The commandos of 21 Para, equipped with assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades and night vision goggles, were airdropped at around 3 am on June 10 from Dhruv helicopters, just inside the Indian territory near the border with Myanmar, security sources said.