‘416 Myanmar soldiers entered India; Army keeping close watch on border situation’

Army chief Gen Pande says situation near Indo-Myanmar border is "concerning"

Army Chief General Manoj Pande.during the annual press conference in Delhi | Sanjay Ahlawat Army Chief General Manoj Pande.during the annual press conference in Delhi | Sanjay Ahlawat

About 416 Myanmarese soldiers crossed over to India in view of the situation arising out of the fighting between Myanmar's armed ethnic groups and the government forces, and Indian military is "closely watching" the unfolding developments, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande said on Thursday.

At a press conference ahead of the Army Day, Gen Pande described the situation near the Indo-Myanmar border as "concerning" and that some of the insurgent groups are feeling the pressure in the frontier region of that country and are attempting to enter Manipur.

"The situation across the Indo-Myanmar border is something that we are closely watching," he said.

Officials said all 416 Myanmarese military personnel have already been repatriated.

The anti-junta groups have reportedly taken control of several key towns, military bases near Myanmar's border with India and the volatile situation has forced scores of Myanmarese citizens to take refuge in Mizoram.

"That (situation along the Indo-Myanmar border) has been of concern to us. You are aware of the activities of the Myanmar Army and the ethnic armed organisations and PDF (People's Defence Forces) in the past couple of months," Gen Pande said.

The Army chief said the situation has about 416 Myanmarese Army personnel crossing over to India till date besides some civilians from that country taking shelter in Mizoram and Manipur.

"The situation across the Indo-Myanmar border is of concern as we also have some of the insurgent groups who are feeling the pressure and are now attempting to come to our side of the border in the state of Manipur," Gen Pande said.

"That combined with the situation in Manipur is something we are keeping a close watch on," he said.

The Chief of Army Staff said India is also considering strengthening fencing along the border with Myanmar.

"We have strengthened our posture, deployment on the Indo-Myanmar border, we have close to 20 Assam Rifles battalions which are deployed there," he said.

Myanmar has been witnessing wide-spread protests demanding restoration of democracy since the military seized power in a coup in February 2021.

The Myanmarese military has been using airstrikes targeting its opponents and those carrying out armed struggle against the ruling regime.

Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and it shares a 1,640 kilometre-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur. The hostilities between Myanmar's anti-junta groups and government forces in several key towns and regions near the border with India fuelled concerns in the Indian military establishment about the possible spillover effect.

Last month, India called for cessation of fighting between Myanmar's military and the anti-junta groups near Indo-Myanmar border.

"On a larger perspective, we have always been encouraging peace there or a resolution or a return to democracy," a spokesperson at the Ministry of External Affairs had said. 


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