Kolkata: Putting to rest reports of a surgical strike in Myanmar against rebels from the North East after an ambush killing six Assam Rifles personnel in Manipur last month, the Army on Monday said sometimes factional fights among insurgent groups were attributed to security forces.
"I must ask you where does this rumour come from? We respect the sovereignty of all our neighbours. There is no question of going across, nothing has happened. We did no strikes," Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi told reporters here when asked to comment on reports of a surgical strike by security forces in neighbouring Myanmar.
He said there were several insurgent groups in Nagaland, Manipur and other places which witnessed inter-group factionalism and rivalry.
"At times (the fights) get attributed to security forces when we have no hand," Bakshi said, adding they suspected that those responsible for the ambush on May 22, perhaps, were clandestinely finding safe sanctuaries in places other than our own country.
"And to that extent we can only request that such safe sanctuaries not be provided in a spirit of good neighbourhood," the army commander said.
In June last year, army commandos had carried out a surgical strike at militant camps in Myanmar killing at least 38 Naga insurgents after NSCN(K) killed 18 army personnel in Manipur.
After joining the Eastern Command on August 1 last year, Bakshi's first visitor was a top army officer from Myanmar.
"We are jointly addressing it but you know insurgency knows no boundaries," he said.
On whether there was any lacunae in following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) by the Assam Rifles convoy which was fatally attacked, he said prima facie there was no lapse.
"In insurgency this can happen anywhere. No matter what precaution you take. Our SOPs are in place. It was only the first vehicle they attacked and before the next vehicle came in, they ran away. So procedures were followed," he said, adding that every such incident was a wake-up call for them.
When asked whether there are any reports of insurgent groups fuelling unrest in Manipur over the Inner Line Permit System, he said he would not get into the political part, but the Army had full situational awareness in the state.
"And as far as my orders to the commanders on the ground go, it is very clear that anyone going with a weapon doing suspicious activity is to be treated as a militant," Bakshi said.
A junior commissioned officer and five soldiers were gunned down by militants on May 22 afternoon in Chandel district. CorCom, an umbrella body of Imphal valley's proscribed outfits, had claimed the responsibility for the ambush.