Warning will enhance vigilance
Seventh Border Coordination Development Meeting 4 August, 2009 – ULFA and NDFB, or Bodo, militants, based in Assam, are regrouping and may try to enter Bhutan to set up camps, the Assam government had conveyed during the seventh border coordination development meeting between Bhutan and the Indian state of Assam last month.
The Assam government also said that these insurgent groups are also in close collaboration with anti-national groups like the communist party of Bhutan (MLM), Bhutan tiger force (BTF) and revolutionary youth of Bhutan (RYOB).
“We’ve also received information that anti national groups like Maoists, BTF and RYOB, based in the camps, are receiving militant, sabotage and other military trainings from ULFA and Bodo militants in batches,” said the joint secretary of law and order bureau, Karma T Namgyal. He said that these trainings were being carried out for the last two years for anti-national groups to carry out subversive activities in Bhutan. “There’s information that certain elements within these ULFA and NDFB groups were trying to spread misunderstanding and antagonism against Bhutan because of the 2003 operations.”
The joint secretary said that the Indian delegation informed them that around 30 cadres of ULFA and Bodo militants had entered Bhutan recently from Arunachal Pradesh to possibly set up a camp or do some excursion in an area 47 km north of Bykunda, Assam. He however said that the government reconfirmed the information and did not find any evidence of camps there.
“There are also unconfirmed reports of ULFA training camps along the Indo-Bhutan border but not within Bhutan,” he said.
Intelligence reports from Assam says that the ULFA and Bodo militants had suffered a severe setback after operation flush out in 2003, after which they took shelter in neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar.
However, according to Indian media, with an India friendly government in Bangladesh and growing ties between India and Myanmar, the groups are under pressure there to leave these areas.
“We were told that these groups are regrouping and planning to come back. We need to be more vigilant,” said Karma T Namgyal.
He said that, so far, after repeated patrolling and checks by the government, no camps have been found on Bhutanese soil. “In fact, both Bhutanese and Indian side, agreed that there were no permanent camps in Bhutan, but we can’t rule out occasional temporary incursions,” he said.
The joint secretary said that, as a step, both countries had agreed to strengthen and intensify border patrolling and there was also a proposal for joint border patrolling.
“This means that the patrol groups will coordinate with each other to ensure that, when the Indian side is patrolling in the east, we can be patrolling in the south and vice versa for effective checks” he said.
Bhutan may also be setting up border outposts, to be permanently manned, to ensure the security of people there.
Earlier, in February, the West Bengal government informed Bhutan that the communist party of Bhutan and Gorkha janmukti morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling had established links.
By Tenzing Lamsang