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Air Force’s ops in Mizoram: How Operation Jericho was quelled

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The use of air power in Mizoram in 1966 has become a hot topic of discussion after Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned it in the Lok Sabha while replying to the no confidence motion last week.

What were the circumstances under which Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft were used in a counter insurgency role? What was the military situation in Mizoram in early 1966?

What was happening in Mizoram in 1966?

In the first two months of 1966, a separatist movement led by Mizo National Front (MNF) was gathering steam in the area now known as Mizoram, and then referred to as the Mizo Hills. The Centre had decided to station another Assam Rifles battalion in the Hills, in addition to the one Assam Rifles battalion and a few BSF companies already present. Incensed at this, the MNF leadership decided to launch ‘Operation Jericho’ to take control of Aizawl, the biggest town in the region, and then the entire Mizo hills. They overran Aizawl in a few days’ time in late February.

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