On January 8, 2024, the proscribed militant outfit United Liberation Front of Asom-I called (ULFA-I) claimed that a drone attack was carried out in Myanmar which resulted in injuries to two cadres. In a statement to a media house, ULFA-I (also called anti-talk ULFA) has stated that three bombs were dropped in the camp.
According to an official statement, “The first strike was carried out an 4:10 PM, the second after a couple of minutes and the third at 4:20PM. Two bombs exploded and the third one did not explode and two of its members were injured.” The militant outfit believes and attributes the responsibility was given to Indian security forces. However, sources in the Indian Army said as the claim pertains to foreign land, suitable agencies will be in a better position to make observation on this claim.
Sinister Plans of ULFA
The chief mastermind and driving strength behind the ULFA-1 has several camps in Myanmar and refused to be apart of peace process and talks until and if sovereignty is not made on the agenda of discussion. On December 29, 2023, the government of India inked peace records with ULFA.
While talking to local news channels on January 6, 2024, Paresh Baruah said that he is not upset or upbeat with the pact. He is not averse to dialogue. “We are open to discussion keeping in history and principles of the state. There is no problem discussing the core issue but just discussing the core issue will not mean that it is against the constitution of India. Discussion of the issue should not scare anyone as if a tiger has come out.
Peace Talks by Assam CM
On January 1, 2024, the Chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma ruled out immediate talks with Paresh Baruah led militant outfit United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).
“As the political head of state, I will continue to reach out to him. I usually talk to him every three to six months and I plan to talk with him again soon but I don’t expect him to come for talks immediately, Sarma said during an interaction with journalists here. He said that it is not easy for Baruah to give up the issue of sovereignty, but he should realize that people of the state don’t want it anymore. He is fighting for the people of the state but the people want development and not an Independent Assam,” he said.
The ULFA charter demands was prepared several decades ago and if Baruah comes and stays in the state for 15 days he will also change the demands as Assam is now a land of peace and tranquility. We have kept the decisions channel open, but we do not see talks happening in the near future. This is a long process which will continue.”
Situation in Myanmar
Myanmar Tatmadaw have engaged in armed clashes with the civilian forces since February 2021, after the military junta seized power in the neighboring nation. Fighting between different wings have intensified since November 2023. On January 2, 2024, around 154 soldiers, who were flown back home on a Myanmar Military aircraft the same day. The Myanmar soldiers fled to Mizoram with their arms and ammunition and approached the Assam Rifles after their camps near the Indo-Myanmar were overrun by the Arakan Army.
In November, a total of 104 Myanmar soldiers including officers, fled to Mizoram in different phases after their camps were destroyed by the pro-democracy groups. Since November 13, several Myanmar soldiers fled to the Indian territory in different phases after their camps in Chin state were captured and seized by the Chin National Defence Force, the armed wing of the Chin National Organization.
Over 38,000 people from Myanmar have taken refuge in Mizoram since the military coup in February 2021. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh recently said that due to prevailing unrest in the neighboring country around 6,000 people from Myanmar have taken shelter in Manipur in recent past. Mizoram and Manipur share 518 km and 398 km unfenced borders with Myanmar. There also exist a porous Free Movement Regime (FMR) in the Indo-Myanmar Border.