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3 Corps / III Corps

The troops of 3 Corps are deeply involved in counter insurgency operations in the States of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and South Assam. In 1999 policymakers were evolving a new policy of streamlining state police forces to tackle insurgency in the Northeast while diminishing the overwhelming presence of the Army. This is in line with the defence ministry's initiative to relieve the Army of the job of maintaining internal security in the insurgency-prone region and hand over the task to paramilitary forces, particularly Assam Rifles. The hierarchy in the defence ministry were of the view that excess employment of Army for militancy operations had enervated it and diverted its focus from the real task of ensuring security from external threats. The view was that militancy problem in the Northeast is of a political nature unlike Kashmir and the Army is not a remedy to the problem.

As part of the demilitarisation policy, the defence ministry seriously contemplated shifting the 3 Corps headquarters based at Rangapahar near Dimapur in Nagaland to Pattan in Baramula district of Jammu and Kashmir [this did not happen]. 3 Crops was actively involved in counter-insurgency operations in Manipur, Tripura and North Cachar Hills district of Assam. Besides, 3 Corps was also aiding the civil administration and paramilitary forces in maintaining peace in Nagaland and Mizoram. At the time, 3 Corps seemed likely to be replaced by the directorate-general of Assam Rifles based in Shillong. The 57 Mountain Division based at Leimakhong in Manipur had already been shifted to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, in 1991, 8th Mountain Brigade headquarters at Zakhama near Kohima had been moved to Sharifabad in Jammu and Kashmir.

In June 2004 a delegation of the Myanmarese military junta arrived at Rangapahar cantonment based headquarter of the 3 Corps to discuss the modalities for flushing out armed rebels taking shelter in the jungles of Myanmar inside Indo-Myanmar border. Chief of the Army's Eastern Command had recently said that any joint border operation would depend on mutual consent and clearance from the political set- up.

In January 2007 Defence Minister A.K. Antony ruled out the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the light of civil authorities frequently seeking the Army's assistance to quell violence in the northeast. However, the Centre was keen on making the legislation more humane. The Minister said the talks with a major Naga militant organisation were on the right track and reflected the "all round desire" in Nagaland for peace. "Due to the talks and the urge for peace, violence is less," he said. "The AFSPA has to stay otherwise how can we tackle situations such as those created by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). But wherever possible we will give it a humane touch," Mr. Antony said at the Army's 3 Corps headquarters. "The Army comes into the picture when the civil authorities cannot deal with a law and order situation by themselves. It is not interested in interfering [in domestic issues] and tells us not to involve it too much. When operating in a difficult situation which is not its creation, the Army needs special protection," the Minister reasoned. Under the Act, passed in July 1990, security force personnel enjoy extraordinary powers, including the authority to shoot down suspected lawbreakers and those disturbing peace, and destroy structures suspected to harbour militants or stock arms.

The 32nd Indo-Myanmar biannual liaison meeting was held at headquarter 3 Corps, Rangapahar, Nagaland during the month of April 2007. The main agenda of the 33rd Indo-Myanmar biannual liaison meeting in July 2008 in Tamu of Myanmar revolved around an effective joint military operation against Manipuri outfits operating in Myanmar. The 10-ember Indian delegation led by major general BK Chengappa, AVSM, commanding officer, head quarter Manipur, Nagaland ranges of 3 Corps, stayed at Tamu town in Myanmar.

In 2009 the Indian Army made plans to raise two new divisions in the north-east with 56 Mountain Division at Zakhama, coming under III Corps, and 71 Mountain Division at Missa Mari, coming under IV Corps. The 56th and the 71 mountain divisions, comprising over 30,000 troops, were to bolster the eastern front's defenses.

III Corps
Dimapur, Nagaland 2554'N9344'E

U/I Artillery BDE
U/I Location ____'N____'E

23 Infantry Division
Ranchi 2300'N8500'E

57 Mountain Division
Silchar 2449'N9248'E

56 Mountain Division
Zakhama ____'N____'E

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Page last modified: 25-07-2016 11:26:20 ZULU