Spike in fighting in Myanmar

GS Paper II

News Excerpt:

A recent surge in violence between Myanmar’s military and anti-junta forces over the past week could have ramifications for security in India’s strategic northeast region, especially Manipur and Mizoram states.

Key Points:

  • The Three Brotherhood Alliance, including the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Arakan Army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), launched Operation 1027 (named after the date the offensive began) in northeastern Shan State bordering China.
  • The alliance reportedly overran more than 135 military sites, seized massive stores of weapons and ammunition, and seized control of trade routes with China, including Kunlong town near Chinshwehaw, the site of a proposed rail link with China.
  • This was followed by similar offensives by the Chin National Front (CNF) in Chin State, the Kachin Region People’s Defense Force (Mogaung) in Kachin State, various People’s Defence Force (PDF) groups in Sagaing Region, the Arakan Army in Rakhine State, and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF), Karenni Army and Karenni National People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF) in Karenni State.
  • Chin and Kachin States, as well as the Sagaing Region, border India, and CNF fighters were involved in the capture of Rihkhawdar, which is home to one of India's two official border crossing points.

  • The junta has declared martial law in various towns in Shan, Chin, and Karenni states, as well as the Sagaing Region. 

Main resistance groups in Myanmar:

  • The Three Brotherhood Alliance, which first emerged in 2016, has taken the lead in the ongoing offensives.
    • The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) is recognized as the most powerful force in the Three Brotherhood Alliance, and it is the driving force behind Operation 1027. The gang, which was founded in 1989 and is thought to have 6,000 militants, has claimed control of the important Chinese border crossing at Chinshwehaw.
    • The Arakan Army, based in Rakhine State, was founded in 2009 as the military branch of the United League of Arakan (ULA). Twan Mrat Naing leads the group, which is believed to have around 35,000 fighters spread over Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states.
    • The Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) is the military wing of the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), which disarmed after striking a ceasefire agreement with the government in 2005. 
      • It was recreated in 2011 and is thought to have 8,000 personnel.

Response of Myanmar’s State Administration Council:

  • The State Administration Council (SAC) has responded to rebel offensives by trying to mobilise ground forces for counter-attacks and carrying out airstrikes at several places.
  • Myint Swe, who was proclaimed President of Myanmar following the 2021 coup, was reported by state-run media this week as claiming that if the government does not adequately control "incidents happening in the border region," the country "will be split into various parts."
  • Military leaders claim they have regained control of the situation and have caused "a large number of casualties" to the MNDAA.

What does it mean for India?

  • Besides from the recent influx of thousands of Myanmar refugees into Mizoram, there is rising fear over a spillover of hostilities into border districts in India's northeast.
    • As a result of the violence, thousands of Myanmarese nationals, including security officers, have fled to Mizoram.
  • Myanmar's Chin ethnic group has significant ties with Manipur's Kukis, and many militant groups from Manipur have a presence in Myanmar's Sagaing Region and are believed to be supported by the junta.
    • According to experts, this could have ramifications for the situation in Manipur.

Conclusion: Hence, It is seen that Myanmar's current situation is very complex and also it will impact Indian security.


Prelims PYQ

Q. In the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, an initiative of six countries, which of the following is/are not a participant/ participants? UPSC IAS/2015

1) Bangladesh

2) Cambodia

3) China

4) Myanmar

5) Thailand

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a). 1 only

(b). 2, 3 and 4

(c). 1 and 3

(d). 1, 2 and 5


Mains PYQ

Q. Cross-border movement of insurgents is only one of the several security challenges facing the policing of the border in North-East India. Examine the various challenges currently emanating across the India-Myanmar border. Also, discuss the steps to counter the challenges. (250 words)            (UPSC 2019)

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