India asked Myanmar to hand over rebel group leaders: paper

New Delhi asked Myanmar last month to hand over four leaders of a militant group alleged to have been involved in an ambush that killed 18 Indian army personnel, the Times of India reported on August 19.

The request involving the leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang was made at the first meeting of the Indo-Myanmar joint consultation commission in New Delhi on July 16, the daily quoted sources as saying.

India was represented at the meeting by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Myanmar by Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin.

A joint statement after the meeting reaffirmed a shared commitment “to fight the source of terrorism and insurgent activity” but made no mention of the request, the Times of India said.

It quoted an Indian home ministry official as saying Myanmar appeared to be “non-committal” about handing over the four leaders, who included NSCN-K chairman SS Khaplang.

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The June 4 ambush in which the soldiers were killed took place in Manipur, bordering Myanmar’s Sagaing Region, where the NSNC-K has its headquarters at Taga, the report said.

SS Khaplang, who was described as a Myanmar Naga, was receiving treatment for an unspecified illness in a Yangon hospital at the time of the ambush but had since returned to Taga, the Times of India said.

Five days after the ambush, Indian commandoes crossed into Myanmar territory to launch retaliatory strikes on NSNC-K camps along the border.

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