Oops! Army Chief Bipin Rawat Contradicts Govt Statement On 2015 Myanmar Raids

| December 4 , 2017 , 14:21 IST

Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat who is famous for his provocative statements, once again courted controversy when he detailed the June 10, 2015 surgical strike near the Myanmar border at a book release event in Pune on Friday.

The strikes that took place in retaliation for an ambush in Manipur by Myanmar-based militants which killed 18 soldiers of the 6 Dogra battalion, were reportedly carried out along the Myanmar border, without crossing into the border nation's territory.

However, General Rawat, who had been commanding the Dimapur-based 3 Corps when the surgical strike was carried out in June 2015, specified to the audience on Friday, on how they crossed into Myanmar territory to complete the operation in 2015, The Hindu reported.

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General Rawat elaborated on the cross-border raid that was carried out on NSCN-K militant hideouts in Myanmar, describing the difficulties that Special Force commandos faced in Myanmar “after crossing over” the border and the “heavy losses” they inflicted on the militant camp there.

The additional details General Rawat gave to the audience indicated that the raid had been pre-planned with special commandos donning the uniforms of the 12 Bihar Battalion that was deployed at the border.

“The troops which had reached the Myanmar border had to later change their route while carrying out the operation, four days from the day it was initially planned,” said General Rawat, asserting that further such surgical strikes can be taken "if required".

The very next day after the surgical strike, the Director of the Myanmar President's office Zaw Htay in a statement said that each country must respect the other country's sovereignty.

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"We will not allow any foreign military operations in Myanmar territory," Zaw Htay had said.  

The Indian government at the time had said that the operations had been carried out "along the border" only.

The statements given by General Rawat are being seen as a cause for concern, officials of the Home and External Affairs Ministries conveyed to The Hindu.

“The Army Chief should have been mindful of the realities in Myanmar and our efforts there. Such detailed discussion on the operations wouldn’t help the situation at all,” a senior official said anonymously.

General Rawat's public revelations come at a time that the Indian government is seeking the support of Myanmar in efforts to control cross-border movement of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland rebels and Rohingya refugees.