AGARTALA, India, Dec. 25, Reuter: India and Burma have started joint counterinsurgency operations against rebel tribesmen and at least seven rebels have been killed in the past week, military officials said on Friday.

The officials in Agartala, capital of the northeast Indian State of Tripura, said two burmese soldiers had also died during operations against Naga rebels fighting for independence from India.

The officials, who asked that their names not be used, said the ‘operations followed bilateral talks during Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Rangoon earlier this month.

Naga guerrillas are fighting in Tripura under the Tripura National volunteers and in neighboring Nagaland under the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.

Naga rebels, who are also active in Manipur state, have bases in jungles inside the Burmese border, the military sources said.

The TNY, which in particular wants of Bengali settlers from the state, have staged a string of attacks since 1980 when at least 450 people died in a major tribal uprising.

The military sources said one Indian mountain division and three paramilitary battalions were being pressed into service in the states of Nagaland and Manipur.

The Burmese have deployed four anti-guerrilla special regiments in a border area between the Indian states of Arunchal Pradesh and Nagaland and Burma’s Kachin state.

The officials said the Burmese regiments have fought three brief encounters with scouting parties o} the pro-Peking NSCN in border areas.

The Nagas separatist struggle began in 1956, but most of the rebels gave up in 1975 when their leaders signed an accord with the Indian government.

However, many of them still carry out sporadic attacks on villages and Indian army outposts.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 1, 1988