Gun-battle between NSCN (K) and Indian army in Myanmar border
New Delhi, Sep. 27 (IANS): The Indian Army on Wednesday said it inflicted “heavy casualties” on Naga insurgents during a firefight along the border with Myanmar but clarified it was not a surgical strike.
The Army also said that its men did not cross the international border. Officials said the incident occurred when a column of the Indian Army was fired upon by “unidentified insurgents” close to the border in eastern Nagaland.
But the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang claimed that three Indian soldiers were killed. The Indian Army’s Eastern Command denied this.
“Reports of casualties to Indian Army personnel factually incorrect. Firefight occurred along Indo-Myanmar border at 0445 hrs,” the Eastern Command said.
“Heavy casualties reportedly inflicted on NSCN-K cadre. No casualties suffered by Indian Security Force,” it said.
Later, the Eastern Command said the insurgents were “unidentified”.
“In the early morning hours, a column of the Indian Army, while operating along the Indo-Myanmar border, was fired upon by unidentified insurgents. Our troops reacted swiftly and brought down heavy retaliatory fire on the insurgents,” it said.
“The insurgents broke contact and fled from the spot. As per inputs, a large number of casualties were suffered by the insurgents. Own troops suffered no casualties during the firefight,” it said.
India shares a winding 1,643-km mostly porous border with Myanmar. But there is a regulated movement of people up to 16 km on either side.
The NSCN-Khaplang, which unlike the NSCN-IM has broken the ceasefire pact it earlier signed with New Delhi, is known to have bases in Myanmar.
In June 2015, the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike along the India-Myanmar border on NSCN-Khaplang, days after an ambush by terrorists killed 18 Indian soldiers in Manipur.
The latest incident comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s September 5-7 Myanmar visit.
The Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services (CDS) of Myanmar, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, visited India in July while the Commander in Chief of Myanmar Navy, Admiral Tin Aung San, came to New Delhi earlier this month.
Army and NSCN (K) make conflicting claims
Separate statements received here on Wednesday evening from the respective publicity wings of the NSCN (K) and Indian army have made contradicting claims.
According to the NSCN (K), three Indian soldiers were killed and several injured in a gun battle that lasted for six to seven hours.
“On 27th September, at around 3 AM, the Naga army belonging to elite unit on combat operation along the international border detected a hesitant column of Indian army coming from Khonsa, Arunachal Pradesh side near Langkhu village inside Myanmar occupied Naga area which is located around 10-15 kms away from Indo-Naga-Myanmar international border,” stated a press release from the outfit’s MIP.
Firing from close proximity, it stated, three Indian soldiers were killed. The firing occurred at Langkhu village in ‘NSDZ Myanmar’, it informed.
However, a statement from the press information bureau (Defence Wing) stated that no lives were lost in the firing incident. “In the early morning hours on 27 September 2017, a column of the Indian army while operating along the Indo-Myanmar border was fired upon by unidentified Insurgents.
“Own troops reacted swiftly and brought down heavy retaliatory fire on the insurgents. Thereafter the insurgents broke contact and fled the spot. There were no casualty (sic) to own troops. It is reiterated that no trans-border operations have been carried out,” the statement read.