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Kaladan Project Threatened by Myanmar Rebel Group

Published Nov 07, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

The Press Information Bureau of India reported that timely intervention by Government of India has ensured release of five abducted Indian nationals, a Member of Myanmar Parliament and four other Myanmar nationals from Arakan Army in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, in the early hours of November 4, 2019.

On November 3, these five Indian nationals, along with a Member of Myanmar Parliament, two local transporters and two speedboat operators were abducted by Arakan Army on way from Paletwa in Chin State to Kyauktaw in Rakhine state in Myanmar. 

The abducted Indians were currently engaged in building the Kaladan road project in Myanmar. Unfortunately, one of the Indian national died in custody of Arakan Army due to heart attack. 

According to information available, he was a chronic diabetes patient. The released Indian nationals, alongwith the dead body of the deceased, have reached Sittwe and will be leaving for Yangon today for onward journey to India.

The Kaladan project connects Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India-Myanmar border. The project was jointly initiated by India and Myanmar to create a multi-modal platform for cargo shipments from the eastern ports to Myanmar and to the North-eastern parts of the country through Myanmar. This will reduce the time required for movement of goods from the North East to other parts of India as well as the region and is a crucial joint connectivity project.

The Arakan Army has threatened the Kaladan project in the past as well.

The Indian and Myanmar’s armies have, in a coordinated operation, destroyed at least 10 camps belonging to an insurgent group in Myanmar, which had become a threat to India’s mega Kaladan Project in the neighbouring country. The operation was also undertaken keeping in view the safety of Indian workers engaged in the project. The military action carried out was codenamed Operation Sunrise.

The Indian Army and Assam Rifles are also reported to have targeted the Arakan Army which is proving to be a major challenge for the Myanmar Army operating in the Rakhine and Chin State on the borders with Bangladesh and India.

However Myanmar Army media head flatly refused to acknowledge the operations saying, “There was no joint military operation in the sense of their troops coming into our country, or our troops going into their country. But there is cooperation in arresting [rebels] and holding joint meetings. In that regard, however, we cooperate not only with India, but also with other neighbors,” said Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun of the Tatmadaw True News Information Team.

The joint military operation “Sunshine-1” was launched in February and March and , “Sunshine-2” from May 16 to June 8 as per Indian media.