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The Chinese ‘hand’

After the Indian Army’s strike in insurgent camps across the border in Myanmar, a <g data-gr-id="28">high security</g> alert has been sounded across the Northeast. Reports suggest that insurgents have entered India for revenge attacks, following the Indian Army’s strike. According to the defence establishment, approximately 20 militants, who belong to a plethora of insurgent groups under the banner of <g data-gr-id="26">newly-formed</g> United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia, crossed the Indo-Myanmar border with the intention of revenge attacks after Tuesday’s surgical strike by the Indian Army. It is, however, important to understand the context behind such news items. In the past decade and a half, the Northeast has seen relative peace. There have been peace engagements with rebel groups, a marked improvement in security coordination with Bangladeshi and Burmese authorities and the fragmentation of erstwhile insurgent groups like the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) under the Issac-Muivah group, one of the region’s major insurgent groups, has been engaging with the Indian government in peace talks since 1997. Although rival faction, the NSCN (K) under SS Khaplang, had entered into peace talks with the Indian government three years ago, it soon walked out, after the Centre protested against the insurgent group’s decision to strike a deal with the Myanmar government.     

Since talks between the two broke down, India’s security forces have been subject to constant assaults from insurgent groups like the NSCN (K). However, what is not known to many is the Chinese hand, which has allegedly driven insurgent activities in the Northeast. According to certain strategic experts, in October 2007, <g data-gr-id="32">a NSCN</g> (IM) delegation had delivered a letter to the Chinese authorities from Muivah, the self-styled leader of the insurgent group. While welcoming the delegation, the authorities in Beijing had reportedly wanted the insurgent group to keep it updated on the movement of the Indian Army, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh. In addition, Beijing also wanted constant updates on the activities of the Dalai Lama and the NSCN (IM)’s peace talks with the Indian government.  Further evidence of a Chinese hand surfaced in 2008, when a militant, who chose to surrender to the Indian authorities, had revealed that many insurgent groups were travelling to Yunnan province to receive training and then return with arms. It is common knowledge among some in the media, who have covered the region, that Paresh Barua of ULFA too visited China in 2010. 

Reportedly, 80 cadres of the insurgent group had followed Barua into the Chinese province, where they received weapons and training. However, it was in 2011 and <g data-gr-id="29">2012,</g> when Chinese activity in the region grew more pronounced. Reports yet again have stated the role Chinese authorities played in organising two major conclaves of insurgent leaders in Western Myanmar. Although authorities in New Delhi are aware of the ground situation, they must quickly act and establish a credible deterrence against enemies within and beyond our borders.
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