Indian Army personnel patrolling the border

Aizawl: Three battalions of Assam Rifles joined by personnel of Assam Regiment, who claimed to have carried out routine exercise along the Indo-Myanmar border in southern Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district, have retreated from the area after three weeks of reported ‘military exercise’, the police said on Monday.

The development came days after the state government lodged a complaint with the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) and defence ministry about the reported military build-up along the borders.

A senior police officer of the state’s CID wing, who refused to be mentioned, told EastMojo that the Indian troops start withdrawing from the border villages from Friday. He said that the troops left Tuisentlang village in Lawngtlai district on Friday.

“The state government did not receive any information about the military build-up in the border villages and the reason of security forces leaving the area after three weeks,” he said.

The 26th battalion of Assam Rifles, who were camping at Vathuampui village near the Myanmar border, have also left the border village early on Sunday, Lawngtlai police said. They said that they could not get information whether or not the Indian Army have retreated from other border villages like Zochachhuah due to poor connectivity.

Meanwhile, a senior Assam Rifles officer told this correspondent that the Indian troops have started leaving the area on completion of ‘routine exercise.’ He said that all of the security forces, who were conducting ‘routine exercise’ along the Indo-Myanmar border have not left the areas but it is under process.

“The troops began leaving the border areas two to three days ago after completing exercise. They will all leave the area soon, as retreat is under progress,” he said.

The officer, however, refused to comment of the number of battalions of the security forces, citing “it is a military matter and has to be kept confidential keeping in view the national security”.

Sources in Lawngtlai said at least three battalions of Assam Rifles along with personnel of 3rd and 6th Assam Regiment were camping at more than five villages in Lawngtlai district along the state’s border with Myanmar.

The movement of the Indian troops and strict vigilance on the residents had caused panic in the border villages. Many were of the opinion that the Indian troops were sent to the border areas to prevent any fallout in the wake of reported fresh arm clashes between Myanmar Army and Rakhine-based insurgent group Arakan Army (AA) and also a crackdown on the Khaplang faction of NSCN launched by Myanmar Army recently.

The state government had earlier lodged a complaint with the MHA and defence ministry citing that the deployment of additional forces in border villages along the Indo-Myanmar border in the pretext of “routine exercise” without informing the state government was against the norms.

Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga during his visit to the national capital on February 25 had also met national security adviser Ajit Kumar Doval on the matter.

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