IMPHAL June 6: A full State honour was accorded on the 18 soldiers of the 6 Dogra Regiment who sacrificed their lives in the June 4 ambush in Chandel district.
The ceremony was held at the Tulihal International Airport on Saturday morning.
Their bodies were later flown home in an Indian Air Force Special Flight.
Governor Dr Syed Ahmed led the solemn ceremony with Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and GOC 3 corps lieutenant general Bipin Rawat, IGAR (S) Major General SN Srinivas and GOC 5 Mountain Division major general PN Rao in attendance.
The Governor also led in laying of wreath to the coffins of the soldiers which were adorned with the national Tri-colour.
Speaking to media persons after the ceremony, Chief Minister Ibobi said the government is open to talks and negotiation with any outfit if they lay down their arms.
The Chief Minister was replying to a media query on a feasible political solution and possible ceasefire with the perpetrating outfits.
It is the most unfortunate incident which every citizen of the country should condemn in the strongest term, he said.
We honour the soldiers who have laid down their lives for the country, he continued.
Taking a firm stand on the issue, the Chief Minister also said the NSCN (K) and some valley based UG groups are responsible for the ambush and we will fight against such groups.
No talk with such groups involved in inhumane acts is possible unless they lay down their arms, he continued.
He said we will also appeal to the Centre that it is imperative to closely monitor the international boundary shared with Myanmar which is around 300 km of hilly terrain and steep jungle.
He said we can also request the Myanmar government to assist us in crushing such anti-national elements.
Myanmar has been a safe abode for such groups, he added.
On the issue of border fencing, the Chief Minister said the State has been pressing the Centre to settle the dispute with the neighbouring country.
Combined operation in the area of the ambush will continue as long as deem required, he answered to a query on the duration of the ongoing combing operation in Chandel district.