Cross-border military raid in Myanmar
Thursday, June 4, 2015, witnessed one of the biggest militant attacks on the Army in recent years. At least 18 soldiers were killed and another 11 injured when they were ambushed in the Moltuk valley of Chandel district in Manipur. The soldiers belonged to 6 Dogra, a battalion of the Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army. They were moving from their base in Moltuk towards Pallel when their convoy was ambushed at around 8 a.m., according to Army and Manipur Police sources. The attackers used rocket-propelled grenades and heavy automatic weapons. Two trucks caught fire and were completely gutted, burning alive the soldiers who were trapped inside.
The attack shocked the nation, the government and the Army. It was an audacious attack which seemed to have caught the Army off guard. Retaliation from the Army was expected. The cross-border raid was finally launched in Myanmar territory on June 9, 2015, by Indian Special Forces. Myanmar territory across the border is where the Northeast militants take shelter after attacking security forces along Indo-Myanmar border. Such retaliatory operations have taken place earlier too but without the post-operation hype that followed the raid this time by the Army. The hype this time was more politically biased. The reasons are not far to see. The BJP Government is portrayed as a nationalistic government who is expected to be more careful and macho about national security and therefore this militant attack was an affront to their self-professed image which seemed to have been hurt by this bold action by the militants. So the government itself was keen to be seen as taking a strong counter to the attack on the military. The broad aims of the operation can be summarised as under: Cause maximum damage to the militant bases in Myanmar territory from where such attacks could emanate. Raise morale of the Army by resorting to a bold and daring action. Send a strong message domestically and in the neighbourhood that the present political dispensation would not permit any such actions in Indian territory and should they take place they would have no hesitation in retaliating appropriately. While the operation was conducted boldly and with precision, and was indeed lauded by all, and even the post-operation statement by the military was considered measured and appropriate, the government’s post-event handling of the strike on militant camps in Myanmar has come under criticism from a large number of people including the military community. The view that has emerged is that the hype by political leaders was excessive and the chest thumping by ministers wanting to gain political mileage was unnecessary and could jeopardize future such operations and ruin the existing friendly relationship with the Myanmar Government and the military. It is for this reason that India is sending its National Security Advisor to Myanmar to calm tempers and assuage the ill feelings of Myanmar political and military hierarchy.