Indian Army develops serious differences with Govt

Gets defiant at orders of conducting operation in civilian border area
–India Home Secretary holds special parleys to convince Eastern Commander Gen. Bikram Singh

From Christina Palmer

NEW DELHI- The Indian Army leadership has once again developed serious differences with the government and this time it is not over some amendments in Armed Forces controversial Act in Occupied Kashmir but now the Army leadership has straight away refused to obey the Central government’s orders to carry out a military operation in some districts in the areas bordering with Myanmar, reveal the latest findings of THE DAILY MAIL.
According to THE DAILY MAIL’S investigation last month, Indian Minister for Home Affairs, P. Chidambaram, directly approached the Commander of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army, Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh and directed him to carry out an operation to crush the clashing factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) in the border districts of Tirap and Changlang in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh.
These investigations further indicate that General Bikram straight away refused the directions and stated that he was there to follow the directions from Army Headquarters in New Delhi and not to follow any instruction from the Minister of Home Affairs.
Sources at the Army Headquarters here in New Delhi say that soon after this development, General Bikram Singh reported the matter to the Headquarters in New Delhi. Taking a serious notice of the development, Indian Army Chief, General V.K. Singh took up the matter with the government and showed his utter displeasure over the issue and very strongly refused to carry out any such operation.
These sources further said that General Singh made it clear to the government that an army operation in the said districts was not possible at all because the said areas do not fall under the Disturbed Areas Act.
THE DAILY MAIL’S investigations indicate that after this rude reply from General Singh, the Indian government decided to yield to the Home Secretary G.K Pillai, who is considered to be having deep relations with the Army top brass and the establishment as he proved it by making a controversial statement at the crucial stage of the Pak-India talks in Islamabad last year, at the behest of the Indian Army and the establishment while the foreign ministers of both the countries were holding negotiating in Islamabad.
The investigations also reveal that after Pillai’s involvement in the matter, the Army leadership asked Pillai to get a favourable report from General Bikram Singh to carry out an operation. The investigations further indicate that after this development, Home Secretary Pillai flew to Kolkata, to resolve the tricky situation.
The sources said that Pillai was holding a closed-door meeting with Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, to find a way out to seek the Army’s help, without declaring the areas as “disturbed” under the Disturbed Areas Act.
The Home Secretary will also be seeking stepping up a vigil by the Assam Rifles on the India-Mayanmar border in the wake of reports of arms being supplied to insurgent groups from Thailand via Myanmar.
The government wants to ensure that there is comprehensive border patrolling by the Assam Rifles. A National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe has pointed out that the alleged chief arms procurer for the insurgent group NSCN (I-M), Anthony Shimray, had been conspiring with arms dealers in Thailand to procure large quantities of arms and ammunition to carry out “terrorist activities” in India.
Home ministry officials, however, stressed that Pillai was conducting a general review of the security scenario in the eastern region.
Government sources, meanwhile, pointed out that the Army holds the view that the NSCN clashes, resulting in more than 30 causalities, should be largely treated as a law and order problem. An official said Pillai is expected to work out a “solution” to the problem to restore peace in the area. An option under which the state government may requisition the Army “to aid the civil authorities” in the two districts is being looked at, the official said.
Over 35 cadres of the Isak-Muivah and Khaplang factions of the NSCN were killed on the night of February 24-25 on the Tirap-Burma border. This was the largest clash in the ongoing conflict between the two groups since December last year. The two factions are already observing a ceasefire agreement with the government where they are supposed to keep their cadres in designated camps and deposit their arms.

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