India says raid near border inflicted ‘heavy casualties’ on Naga insurgents

The Indian army says it inflicted “heavy casualties” on Naga insurgents during an operation near the border with Myanmar’s Sagaing Region early on September 27.

The operation targeted camps of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang in Nagaland’s Mon District after the rebels fired on a column of troops, the Indian Army’s Eastern Command said in a statement.

The troops had responded with “heavy retaliatory fire” and the rebels fled, it said, adding that there had been no casualties on the government side.

NSCN-K leader Isac Sumi said in a social media post that three government troops were killed and the rebels suffered no casualties.

The claim was denied by the Indian Army, as was Sumi’s claim that the fighting had taken place near Langkhu village in Sagaing’s Lahe Township, between 10 and 15 kilometres from the border.

“It is reiterated that no trans-border operations were carried out,” the Indian Army said.

Bilateral relations were strained in June 2015 after Indian commandos crossed into Myanmar to attack NSCN-K camps in Sagaing five days after the rebels killed 18 soldiers in a raid on an army camp in Manipur.

In a separate development, India’s Home Ministry is reported to be reviewing a bilateral agreement that allows free movement to Indian and Myanmar citizens living near the border.

The review of the Free Movement Regime follows concern that India may be affected by the exodus of Muslims from Rakhine State, media reports said.

The FMR applies in India’s northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur and in Myanmar’s Sagaing Region and Chin and Kachin states.

The visa-free FMR allows citizens of both countries who live within 16 kilometres of the border to spend up to 72 hours on the other side if they have valid permits.

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