In a joint operation code named “Operation Sunrise,” the Indian and the Myanmar Army are said to have struck about a dozen insurgent operating bases and camps along the eastern border of the country. Officials reportedly said that the move was made to help curb any threat to the Kaladan transit and transport project in the region that has been taken up to increase connectivity in the Northeast.
Operation Sunrise was carried out from February 17 and March 2 and saw the deployment of more than 12,000 Indian troops for the purpose. However, senior officials of the army specified that the forces did not cross the border and that the strike was carried out in coordination with the Myanmar Army.
“We operated in coordination with the Myanmar army and our main aim was to prevent these elements from moving into India,” Hindustan Times quoted an official as saying on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, another official added that the rebels have been creating more issues for Myanmar than India and hence the neighbour was willing to carry out the joint operation.
“We don’t need to cross the Myanmar border because there is a mutual understanding on both sides and the Myanmar army largely obliges with whatever we ask them for,” the official explained.
“The Myanmar rebels have been creating more problems on their side than ours. At their request, we had killed 5 of their rebels and captured 8-10 on our side in 2017. Thus, the Myanmar army, too, struck the separatist National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khalang) HQ in Taga on our behalf.”
While one soldier of the Myanmar army was reportedly injured, the Indian Army has debunked reports that two Indian jawans had lost their lives. The armies of the two nations also have decided to work together and India is said to have shared radio sets with the Myanmar Army for “ease of communication and to prevent incidents of friendly fire.”
Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project
Relations between India and Myanmar remained strained until 1993 due to issues of drug trafficking, but the two nations have maintained healthy relations since. The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project has been undertaken to connect the seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar by sea. It will also link Sittwe seaport to Lashio in Myanmar via Kaladan river boat route and from Lashio on to Mizoram in India by road.
The project was scheduled to be completed by 2014, but has been marred by several delays.
Meanwhile, Operation Sunrise was carried out when all eyes were on the Balakot strike carried out by the Indian Air Force on February 26. The strike is said to have lasted for about 20 minutes, during which the IAF had demolished several terror camps, killing scores of terrorists.
However, Pakistan had said that the IAF violated its airspace early on Tuesday, February 26, morning but returned after facing a “timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force.” Pakistani Major General Asif Ghafoor announced the “violation” on Twitter and said that the IAF could cause no damage to the nation.
Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back,” Major General Ghafoor’s Tweet read. “Details to follow,” he added. Speaking of the bomb that the IAF had released in Balakot, Ghafoor said: “Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”
Indian sources later told ANI that Pakistan did scramble a few of its F-16 jets, but they eventually returned after seeing the size of the IAF’s formation.