Despite a successful joint `Operation Sunrise’ – of Indian Army and Myanmar Army against the insurgent Arakan Army, Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project involving India and Myanmar– critical to the connectivity between North East and Myanmar remains under threat.
The government is watching the developments in the region as it has direct impact on the security of North Eastern states as well as the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project.
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A vessel ferrying raw materials for the Kaladan Project has been hit again by the insurgents and destroyed, after which reports indicate that the Myanmar Army is getting ready to impose emergency in the Rakhine state which will help in taking major action against the insurgent group.
According to sources, the Arakan Army is getting help from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and reportedly trained by China, and the Myanmar Army is facing tremendous challenges as it has to fight against Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and Arakan Army. After losing nine of its own soldiers in the recent attacks, the Myanmar Army has decided to carry out aerial attack at several camps of the Arakan Army. As has been reported earlier, this outfit has been designated as a terrorist outfit by the government of Myanmar.
Security forces of India and Myanmar had carried out an operation last month on the area along the Indo-Myanmar border on the Indian side destroying at least a dozen camps of the insurgent groups, however, the threat continues. The Indian side had given support by providing surveillance equipment and mobilising forces on the Mizoram side.
Though the Operation Sunrise carried out in the area of south Mizoram was declared as a great success by the Indian Army then, the situation on the ground remains tense and Myanmar Army is seeking more support from the Indian side in an effort to protect the Kaladan Project.
In February this year, the Arakan Army which is focussed on carrying out deadly attacks to destroy the Kaladan Project had targeted a Burmese vessel which was carrying steel frames for the Paletwa Bridge and abducted the entire crew who were later released. According to reports that vessel had sailed out from Yangon to Paletwa.
Why the Kaladan Project?
Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project involving India and Myanmar is very important for connecting the North East and Myanmar. This is part of India’s ‘Look East policy’ connecting north eastern States and the ASEAN region.
There is a framework agreement between India and Myanmar signed in 2008, to help in facilitating the implementation of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project.
India is also involved in developing the Sittwe Port in Myanmar which is expected to emerge as the most strategic overseas port for India and is located at the estuary of Kaladan River which is in the troubled Rakhine province of Myanmar.
India has already constructed an inland water transport jetty at Sittwe and also a container terminal is expected to come up later.