- NET Web Desk
The dastardly attack by terrorists on an Assam Rifles convoy on Saturday, which took away the lives of 46 Assam Rifles Khuga Battalion Commanding Officer, Colonel Viplab Tripathi, his wife and their 8-year-old son, along with 4 other paramilitary personnel stood to be the focal point of China’s possible role in supporting banned militant outfits of Northeast India, a strategy laid out to incite violence along these regions, during times when border disputes have been contemplating as a major issue between both the nations, as stated by security officials on Sunday.
China posing a geographical threat into Ladakh, Sikkim & Arunachal Pradesh have escalated since decades. But somehow its dual intrusion into the northeastern regions by utilizing Myanmar as a safe haven for several insurgent outfits have diverged from the focus of defence experts during the recent times, resulting into such militant ambush.
Its pertinent to note that this is not the first time, when Chinese links with banned militant outfits of Northeastern regions have come under scrutiny.
In 2020, China’s propaganda machinery warned India against signing a trade pact with Taiwan saying Beijing could retaliate to the move by supporting Northeastern separatists, and would stop recognizing Sikkim as part of India is an instance to the same.
“The possibility of China fuelling insurgency in the Northeast exists. Insurgent outfits in the Northeast, including Manipur, have links with armed groups such as Arakan Army and United Wa State Army in Myanmar from where Chinese weapons are finding their way into the Northeast,” a senior official said.
Meanwhile, another official informed that China has provided safe havens to insurgent leaders including – United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) commander Paresh Baruah and National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) Phunting Shimrang who resided in Ruili, Yunnan Province across the Myanmar border with China.
The Manipur-based People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – a militant outfit that have undertaken responsibility for the attack, claimed of not been aware of the presence of family members amid the convoy have already showcased its shameless move of overlooking the incident.
According to Lieutenant General Shokin Chauhan (Retd), who headed the Assam Rifles in 2017-18 informed that China might have re-established its links with PLA Manipur and other like-minded groups in the backdrop of the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“This may have been done to unleash mayhem in the Northeast and tie down the security forces,” he said.
According to HT report, the cowardly attack on security forces in Manipur, brought back memories of the June 2015 Chandel ambush in the state in which a Dogra battalion of the Indian Army lost 18 brave men.
China may not have previously interfered directly but things could change amid tensions at the LAC as insurgent groups in the Northeast have Chinese links, added by the former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd), who commanded the Leimakhong-headquartered 57 Mountain Division in Manipur in 2009-10.
Given the situation on LAC, there is a possibility of China making attempts to wage a different form of warfare in the Northeast to put pressure on India, said Lieutenant General Konsam Himalay Singh, who retired in 2017 and is the first army officer from the Northeast to reach the three-star rank.
Furthermore, a top official specializing in security dynamics of Northeastern regions claimed “Insurgent groups have access to Chinese-made weapons and some self-styled commanders are living in China. But the exact scale of Chinese support to these groups is hard to establish,”.