India bid to win Myanmar support through funds

R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 31 – The Government of India has decided to provide funds to Myanmar for implementation of several infrastructure projects in a bid to persuading the Government of that country to take action to evict the militants using the territory of that country as a safe haven.

Highly placed official sources in New Delhi told The Assam Tribune that for years, China has been able to make its mark in Myanmar by financing several infrastructure projects and only recently, the Government of India has realized the importance of coming closer to Myanmar. Sources said that time and again, the Government of Myanmar assured to take action against the militants using the territory of that country as safe haven, but so far, no concerted effort has been made in this regard.

Recently, the Government of Myanmar told India that the poor road condition affected movement of the troops to the area where the militants are taking shelter and after consultation with the Myanmar authorities, India has approved a series of road projects in that country. Sources said that the Government of India has approved several road projects on principle and the technical estimates are now being prepared and in addition to financing the projects, India would also provide technical support if necessary.

Interestingly, the Government of India has not yet been able to improve infrastructure on Indian side of the international border with Myanmar, which seriously affected the performance of the Assam Rifles personnel deployed to guard the international border. In some places, the Assam Rifles was forced to set up the camps well inside the Indian territory instead of setting it up on the international border because of the poor infrastructure and there is urgent need for improving the road condition in the area, sources added.

Meanwhile, sources revealed that according to an estimate of the security forces, at least seven thousand militants belonging to different North East based groups are taking shelter in Myanmar. Though the militants are not receiving any help from the authorities of Myanmar, no major operation has yet been launched by the Government of that country as yet to evict the militants.

Sources said that according to inputs available, the Manipur based groups have come under a united front recently for operational purpose and if all the militants taking shelter in Myanmar join hands in the days to come, it would become a potent force. The unification move is believed to have started with a view to receiving assistance from China as according to intelligence inputs, some Chinese officials recently made it clear to the leaders of the militant outfits that they could expect help only if they join hands and no Chinese agency would be willing to help the militant groups individually.