NSCN(K) leader Khaplang in Yangon hospital, with help from Myanmar govt
NEW DELHI: Even as Indian Army executed surgical strikes on camps of Indian insurgent groups (IIGs) in Myanmar, their main facilitator, NSCN(K) chairman SS Khaplang, was undergoing treatment at a Yangon general hospital. According to intelligence sources, the treatment of Khaplang, suffering from a medical condition complicated by diabetes, has been facilitated by the Myanmar government who arranged for his travel from Taga base in Manipur Naga Hills (MNH) to Yangon.
Khaplang's hospitalization came after Myanmar informed New Delhi in February of his request to be treated at Yangon. Sources said the NSCN(K) chief's ailment may require him to stay back in hospital for some time. With the Indian forces planning more strikes on bases of NSCN(K), PLA, UNLF, KYKL, KCN etc in Myanmar, it will be interesting to watch how Khaplang guides them in resisting the offensive.
Incidentally, senior NSCN(K) functionaries (ministers) Thoiba, Starson and Ang Mai have been directly coordinating the insurgent strikes in India from their safe havens in Myanmar.
Khaplang, along with T Muivah and Isak Chisi Swu, formed the NSCN in 1980 but broke ranks with the latter in 1988 to create his own faction, NSCN(K). NSCN(K) is the dominant force in MNH area with its headquarters at Taga. It has three brigades and two ceasefire monitoring offices in Hkamti and Lahe and has a strength of 800-900 cadres spread over in its camps in MNHs.
Apart from NSCN(K), the prominent IIGs in Myanmar are Ulfa (Paresh Baruah faction), NDFB(Songbjit), UNLF, PLA, KYKL and KLO. Their camps are located from Upper MNHs in Sagaing region on Arunachal-Myanmar border till Rakhine state.
The United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFWSEA), a platform of NSCN(K) and other IIGs that engineered the June 4 attack on Indian Army, was formed by Khaplang in April this year with active help from Ulfa chief Paresh Barua. Incidentally, NSCN(K) had charged Ulfa Rs 50,000 each for the three camps it established in Taga.
UNLFWSEA is not the first effort by Khaplang to bring IIGs on a united platform. He had founded the Indo-Burma Revolutionary Front (IBRF) in May 1990, comprising NSCN(K), Ulfa, Kuki National Front (KNF) and Chin National Front. However, IBRF could not succeed as its leadership found it difficult to hold together a coalition of groups from diverse tribes with different goals. Another unification effort was made in January 2011, when IBRF was renamed United North East Revolutionary Alliance (UNERA). This initiative too failed.
With insurgency undergoing a downward phase on account of low morale of cadres, low recruitment, lack of public support and funds, loss of bases in Bangladesh and Bhutan and increasing pressure from Indian forces, renewed efforts began in late 2014 to form a regional front of all N-E IIGs. Paresh Barua, who arrived at Taga early this year from Ruilli, Yunnan province, China, became the principal force behind the initiative, with support from the Chinese security services.
His attempt was also to convince Chinese forces and ISI to support the groups with finances and weapons. UNLFWSEA was born on April 17.