“Army to follow amended SOPs for counter insurgency ops in NE”
Eastern Command chief Lt Gen RP Kalita at Narangi military station Saturday

Guwahati: Indian Army troops deployed in counter-insurgency terrain in the Northeast are required to follow amended Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for any military operation, General Officer-Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command, Lt Gen R.P. Kalita, told reporters in Guwahati Saturday.

The statement comes nine months after the Supreme Court stayed further proceedings in a botched operation that resulted in the death of 13 civilians in Nagaland’s Mon district.

“When this unfortunate incident took place, a Court of Inquiry was initiated, and that has been finalised. Unfortunately, because of the stay order passed by the Supreme Court, the proceedings have been stayed completely,” Lt Gen Kalita said. He added that alongside the inquiry, the Army has “analysed the mistakes committed in that operation and taken a comprehensive review of the conduct of operation in those areas”.

“Whatever necessary amendments had to be done on the SOPs for Nagaland, Manipur, South Arunachal Pradesh, and upper Assam were already put in place,” he said.

Stating that the Army is carrying out only hard intelligence-based operations in these areas, Lt Gen Kalita told reporters, “We are now observing how the troops are following the amended SOPs to carry out operations.”

The media interaction was held Saturday on the sidelines of unveiling of a 75-feet high mast national flag at the Narangi military station, sponsored by the NGO Flag Foundation of India. The event also witnessed the participation of National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets.
He also said that he hoped to see further rollbacks, depending upon the security situation in the region.
In March 2023, the ‘Disturbed Area’ status was withdrawn from Lakhipur sub-division of Cachar district in South Assam’s Barak Valley, but was extended for another six months in eight districts — Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, and Dima Hasao.
Lt Gen Kalita also said that he had seen a “sea change in relations between the military and local population” in the eastern Assam districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Charaideo, along with other parts of the state.
“The support we are now getting from the people is tremendous. Belonging to the place (Assam), I think there’s a sea change in the bonhomie between locals and army in Tinsukia, and other places. We successfully hosted the Captain Jintu Gogoi Vir Chakra Memorial Football Tournament in February that saw an overwhelming response,” he said.
Furthermore, the Eastern Army Commander said the situation along the northern border with China is “quite stable”, adding that “any emerging situation or minor misunderstanding will be resolved through border talks under established protocols”.

“There are robust methods existing and followed by both sides. ‘Vibrant Border Village’ project is key for the border areas, there is a lot of focus to stop the migration of the border population from these areas,” Lt Gen Kalita said.

On the political instability in Myanmar and the streaming of refugees into India, he said the paramilitary force of Assam Rifles is monitoring the situation along the Indo-Myanmar border. India shares a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar in four northeastern states — Arunachal (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km), and Mizoram (510 km).

“We would like to see the situation in Myanmar moving towards peace and stability. We have increased the deployment of troops along the Indo-Myanmar border because of the situation improving in the hinterland,” he said.

However, Lt Gen Kalita denied reports that ethnic Chin insurgents fighting Myanmar’s junta were using Indian territory as a logistical base.
“We will not allow Indian territory to be used by any rebel group. There have been a few cases of aerial bombings targeting Myanmar insurgent camps near the border, and we are constantly monitoring the situation,” he said. (Courtesy: The Print)