Operation Sunrise: Why Myanmar Army is Refusing to Acknowledge Joint Operations
Multiple media sources in India reported that the Indian and the Myanmar Army had jointly launched Operation Sunrise 1 and 2 to target bases of militants who operate North East which were in Myanmar.
ULFA, NSCN (K), National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and the Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO), which are active along Myanmar’s borders with the Indian states of Manipur, Nagaland and Assam were reportedly targeted.
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.
“Around four or five months ago, we arrested Assam and Meitei rebels who had undergone training in Myanmar. So, we launched an investigation and found that they were stationed in the areas controlled by the NSCN-K. We carried out clearance operations and issued a press statement about it,” he told The Irrawaddy.
The Irrawaddy reports that “Tatmadaw’s Northwestern Command raided the headquarters of the NSCN (K) in the Naga Self-Administered Zone of Sagaing Division on Jan. 29, and later arrested Assam and Meitei rebels from there.
The Tatmadaw filed a complaint against 24 rebels under Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act. At their sixth hearing, the Hkamti District Court sentenced them to two years in prison to include those belonging to the Manipur People’s Army (MPA), the ULFA, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur (PLA) and the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) groups that are operating in the Manipur state of India.
Myanmar Army is very sensitive to the public information of having conducted operations jointly with the Indian Army given the impact that this will have in relations with China and thus has possibly dismissed the India reports.
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The Tatmadaw may also face demands by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to conduct joint operations against drug smugglers on the Sino Myanmar border.
More over Indian analysts believe that Chinese intelligence agencies are supporting the North East militant groups and acknowledging targeting these may lead to some questions by the PLA.
India on the other hand has sought joint operations by both sides for many decades now and has been successful only in the past one year or so.