June 9, 2015 / 2:17 PM / 4 years ago

Indian army hunts militants on Myanmar border days after ambush

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s army conducted a military operation against separatist guerrillas near the border with Myanmar on Tuesday, it said, days after 20 of its soldiers were killed in the deadliest attack on security forces in the remote area in two decades.

The army said in a statement it had engaged with two groups of militants along the border and inflicted “significant casualties”.

Indian television channels said special forces carried out “surgical strikes” inside Myanmar where the guerrillas had fled to, something that was not confirmed by the army.

The operation took place in the Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur, where the soldiers were killed last week in an ambush on their convoy. The army said it had received intelligence that the guerrillas were plotting further ambushes.

India’s remote northeast is home to dozens of insurgent groups, fighting for either greater autonomy or secession. For decades, the army has been deployed to the area that has borders with China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan but it has not been known to carry out cross-border raids.

The army said it was in communication with Myanmar authorities regarding its operations against the guerrillas. “There is a history of close cooperation between the two militaries,” it said, adding it would firmly deal with any threat to India’s security.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought better relations with neighbours to help fight cross-border terrorism and build tighter economic links. But his administration has also repeatedly said it would deal with militants firmly.

Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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