Three soldiers belonging to the Assam Rifles unit lost their lives in an ambush by militants from the local insurgent group People’s Liberation Army in Manipur’s Chandel district near the border with Myanmar.
As many as five others were injured and are stated to be critical. They have been shifted to the military hospital.
According to sources quoted by news agency ANI, the terrorists first carried out an IED blast and then fired at the troops.
A senior government officer said that a group of 15 soldiers were returning from an area dominance patrol at Khongtal in Chandel area when an improvised explosive device exploded.
“On 29 July, 2020, an area domination patrol in Khongtal, Chandel dist, Manipur. At 18:45 hrs the patrol party got ambushed on their way back,” said a senior government officer.
Reinforcements have been rushed to the area which is about 100 km from Imphal.
The incident happened about three kilometers from the India-Myanmar border. They were returning to their post after three days of operation along the international border.
The deceased have been identified as Havildar Pranay Kalita, Rifleman YM Konyak and Rifleman Ratan Salim.
The government has stated that no insurgent group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The local administration and intelligence agencies are working to identify the insurgent group which carried out the attack on the patrolling party,” said a senior officer.
Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force under Union Home Ministry, comprises of Indian Army soldiers and officers and their own cadre officials and officers.
On June 23, a report published by the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) stated that Indian insurgents from the country’s north eastern states, who have been sheltered for years in Myanmar, present security challenges for India.
“In addition to being threats to national security, they are also irritants that impact India’s Act East Policy. The Indian suspicion, not without basis, is that impeding the progress of India’s Act East projects has assumed weight in China’s strategic thinking. The influx of Chinese weapons is, accordingly, in tune with such thinking,” the EFSAS said.
In 2015, in an attack by Naga group NSCN (K), a total 18 Indian Army soldiers were killed in Chandel district of Manipur. As retaliation, the force had carried out strikes on Myanmar hideouts of the group.