GS Paper III Mains 2019 Question Analysis

  • Cross-border movement of insurgents is one of the several security challenges to policing the border in North-East India. Examine the challenges emanating across the India-Myanmar border. Discuss the steps to counter the challenges.

Indo-Myanmar has traditionally been the most susceptible for cross-border insurgency as a result of geographical contiguity, ethnic linkages across the border and free movement regime between the two countries. The cross-border insurgency has resulted in a number of security threats to India including arms smuggling, drug trafficking and gold smuggling recently.

Cross-border insurgency
Indian insurgent groups, particularly from Manipur and Nagaland, have historically found shelter in Myanmar due to geographical contiguity and ethnic linkages. These groups have set up bases in Myanmar and operating across the border to fuel secessionist movements in India posing a security threat to India. Eg: The separatist Naga insurgent group NSCN(K) has its base in Myanmar.

Arms smuggling
The insurgents have used the porous border to smuggle arms and ammunition sourced from Thailand to fuel its activities in India.

Drug Trafficking
Given the proximity to ‘Golden Triangle’ which is the global hub of drug trafficking, India-Myanmar border is vulnerable to trafficking of narcotic drugs. Further the drug trafficking has resulted in resulted in rise in drug abuse in the border states, particularly Mizoram which has also seen a rise in HIV incidence.

Gold smuggling
India is witnessing an upsurge in the gold smuggling with Indo-Myanmar border becoming the hotbed of gold smuggling contributing to 25% of all the gold smuggled in India.

Emerging security challenges
There is an increasing movement of insurgents in Myanmar towards the Indo-Myanmar border who have been targeting the Kaladhan projects which is seen as the alternative gateway for development of North-east.
The Rohingya infiltration from Myanmar to Bangladesh also poses a security threat to India. This is because the Rohingyan muslims are being exploited by anti-India radical Islamist groups like Jamat-i-Islami and Jamat-i-Mujahideen in Bangladesh to destabilize peace in the region.

Way Forward
India and Myanmar has been conducting joint-operations to fight the insurgents recently including the Operation Sunshine and Operation Sunrise. These efforts are welcome and should be stepped up.

Border Management
Integrated border management including border-fencing, setting up a dedicated force, Integrated Check Post at Moreh etc.
Dedicated hot line for border incursions should be set up.

Information exchange on Drug Trafficking                                                             

India and Myanmar have started coordinated efforts to fight drug trafficking including information exchange, sharing of best practices etc.

Development projects
India should step up efforts to develop the region through setting up of banks, FIIs, infrastructure so as to improve the communication in the region.
The pending projects under Kaladhan MMT, particularly the highway projects should be expedited. Myanmar has a vast resource of oil and gas and lacks expertise in prospecting and exploration. India should extend this expertise which will help in energy security for both countries.
Thus handling of insurgency in the north eastern states is crucial for the holistic development of the north eastern states.