Year-long journey of Indian Army's heroic efforts to restore peace & stability in Manipur

Over the past year since the eruption of violence in Manipur, Indian Army has been working tirelessly to restore normalcy and peace in the region, facing numerous challenges along the way
Year-long journey of Indian Army's heroic efforts to restore peace & stability in Manipur
Year-long journey of Indian Army's heroic efforts to restore peace & stability in ManipurRepresentative Image

New Delhi: The Indian Army had been deployed in the state of Manipur since early days of independence to address security concerns in the region. Over the past year since the eruption of violence in May 2023, deep-rooted grievances, ethnic tensions, and external influences that continued to fuel instability in the region led the Army to navigate these complexities while upholding its commitment to safeguarding the nation's integrity and promoting peace. Since then, the Army has been working tirelessly to restore normalcy and peace in the region, facing numerous challenges along the way.

Tracing the conflict, the Indian Army swiftly mobilized its troops, embarking on numerous rescue and evacuation missions which saved the lives of over 33,516 individuals trapped in the crossfire. Amidst the tumult, the Army extended various humanitarian aids to over 1493 individuals, offering accommodation and shelters to over 3151 people affected by the violence. In their pursuit of peace, they engaged in 25 peace initiatives, fostering dialogue among 795 local leaders, seeking reconciliation and understanding in a fractured community.

While the scale of the crisis was staggering, the commitment of Army extended towards relief efforts and healthcare initiatives to locals irrespective of caste and creed, by conducting 75 medical camps, providing essential healthcare to over 13,074 persons including elders, women and children, who lacked access to medical facilities due to the ongoing crisis; along with distribution of relief material to 1695 locals, ensuring that no one was left behind in their time of need.

Under the shadow of these unending clashes, children were also one of the victims; but the turbulence of the tussle could not stop Army’s contribution towards the educational support. They provided assistance to over 891 students and catered to the stationery needs of around 1092 children, ensuring that the pursuit of knowledge continued unabated amidst adversity.

In this great turmoil, when devastating land of Manipur was surrounded by sooty flame all-over, the Indian Army again did not step back, instead they contributed towards infrastructure development at various areas of Manipur by building roads, bridges, shelters, water-tanks and other essential facilities to improve connectivity and foster development with economic growth in these regions.

Besides all humanitarian endeavours, the Army on the other end, did not leave any loop hole in vigilance and security measures, where apart from conducting thousands of area domination, patrols and combing operations; they also conducted training programs for local security forces and police to enhance their capabilities in handling security challenges which resulted into strengthening of collaborative efforts in the overall security apparatus in Manipur.

However, this sequence led to the recovery of a significant cache of looted arms, ammunition and other warlike stores and ensuring the region's security by conducting various counter-insurgency operations against groups like the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People's Liberation Army (PLA), etc to neutralize their threats and restore law and order. Additionally, Army was responsible for securing the borders of Manipur with Myanmar and Nagaland by preventing illegal activities such as smuggling of arms, drugs, and contraband, which could destabilize the region.

Subsequently, the zealous and unending commitment of the Army's humanitarian aids and peace initiatives led them to successfully complete 56 Operation Sadbhavana projects by investing 2.7 crores in the fiscal year 2023-24. Undeterred by challenges, they have also planned an additional 57 projects worth 4.09 crores for the upcoming year, laying the groundwork for a brighter future of Manipur.

At the end of the spectrum of conflict, through unwavering dedication and selfless service, the Indian Army has once again emerged as the guardians of hope in Manipur over the time. Their commitment to saving lives and restoring peace, even in the face of adversity, showcases a legacy of compassion and resilience etched in the hearts of the people of Manipur.

(Author Lt Col Amit Shukla is an Infantry Officer with 22 years of service in various theatre of operations to include J&K, desert and United Nations. He is presently on deputation with MoD as PRO and Spokesperson for Manipur, Nagaland and Southern Arunachal)

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