Army plans Bhutan offensive

Army plans Bhutan offensive

After a successful offensive in Myanmar against several North-East based militant camps, the Army is now reportedly planning to mount a similar operation in Bhutan.

Sources said the aim is to flush out National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit (NDFB-S) rebels who are holed up in the reserve forests of the mountain kingdom.

In order to ensure success, the Centre has reportedly held few rounds of meetings with the Bhutanese government.

The forest stretches from Assam’s Baksa district to Pemagatshel district in Bhutan and one can even trek into Arunachal Pradesh through the forest. “At least 50 NDFB(S) rebels are currently hiding in Bhutan in the interiors of Manas wildlife sanctuary. We have information that the group also includes Kailash Koch, the general secretary of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), and some of their top commanders,” a senior official said.

India had in 2003 executed “Operation All Out” against the KLO, NDFB and Ulfa with help from the Royal Bhutanese Army. While another round of meeting between the two governments is likely to take place in New Delhi on June 18, the operation will be staged in such a manner that no rebel can flee into West Bengal or Assam.  

“As and when the operation starts, the border will be sealed and they will be trapped. The assistance of the Royal Bhutanese Army will be crucial to the operation,” sources said. Talking about the operation, a senior Home Ministry official said, “Not yet.”

While refusing to go into the specifics, a senior police officer in Assam, who has played the lead role in anti-insurgency operations, said that the operation would be a concerted effort against NDFB(S) – initiated in December after the massacre of some non-Bodo villages in Kokrajhar district.

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