Author Biography

Saira H. Basit is Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian Security Studies, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo.



Subject Area Keywords

Armed groups, Conflict studies, Counterinsurgency, Ethnic conflict, International security, Irregular warfare, Regional conflict, Security management, Security studies, Small wars and insurgencies, Southeast Asia


Militant groups hiding in Myanmar launch cross-border attacks into India, killing soldiers and civilians. The Indian Army has responded by launching cross-border military incursions into Burmese territory. After decades of trial and failure to curb the militants, a reciprocated spirit of cooperation for the first time seems to characterize India and Myanmar’s joint efforts in fighting them. This article analyses the evolution of these efforts and argues that a sum of dovetailing drivers have created space for enhancing countermilitancy cooperation in an ambivalent and distrustful relationship. Central elements are an overall improvement in bilateral relations, India’s need to counter China’s growing influence in its neighbourhood, Myanmar’s urge to diversify its benefactors, the urgency of stabilizing India’s northeast, Myanmar’s domestic security calculations, as well as a large untapped economic cooperation potential. Despite increasing countermilitancy cooperation, difficult challenges remain as Myanmar has ceasefire agreements with India-hostile militants residing on its territory. The relationship is caught in a complex interstate order in a mix of conflict and cooperation, between the use of extraterritorial force and its acceptance.


I would like to thank my mentor Magnus Petersson, supervisors Kristian Berg-Harpviken and Øyvind Østerud, and Lars Tore Flåten and other colleagues at the Centre for Asian Security Studies for their valuable comments and support. I am sincerely grateful to the anonymous referees and the JSS editors.