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China helps rebel groups on Myanmar border: India | India News


Indian officials say China is helping rebel groups that have stepped up attacks on its border with Myanmar in recent months, opening another front in the conflict between two nations already in a deadly confrontation in the Himalayas.
Armed groups in Myanmar, including the United Wa State Army and the Arakan Army, which was designated as a terrorist organization this year, are acting as proxies for Beijing by supplying weapons and providing hideouts to insurgent groups in the northeastern states of the India, according to Indian officials. with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified due to the rules for speaking to the media.
Officials said several security agencies warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that at least four of India’s most wanted insurgent leaders were in the southern Chinese city of Kunming to train and obtain weapons in mid-1990. October. The group, including three Naga rebels fighting for a separate homeland in an area that straddles the India-Myanmar border, met with acting and retired Chinese military officers, as well as other intermediaries who form an informal network, Indian officials said.
Increased activity along the Myanmar border has sparked concern in New Delhi that India’s military is being stretched as tensions with China and Pakistan persist in other parts of its land border, which stretches for approximately 14,000 kilometers (8,700 miles). Officials said India moved several battalions consisting of about 1,000 soldiers each to the Myanmar border area after a soldier was killed in an ambush on October 21.
Chinese denial
China’s Foreign Ministry denied claims that the country was supporting armed groups against India, saying it does not interfere in the affairs of other countries. “China has always adopted a prudent and responsible attitude towards arms exports,” the ministry said in written responses to questions. “We only conduct military trade in cooperation with sovereign states and we do not sell weapons to non-state actors.”
The Wa United State Army also denied its involvement in providing aid or support to Indian rebel groups on behalf of China, citing, among other factors, the more than 500 miles between its headquarters and the India-Myanmar border. .
The group “has no connection to the national security of India and we do not harm that country at all. So we think we don’t need to comment on these kinds of accusations, “said Nyi Rang, a spokesman for the Wa United State Army, adding that the accusation that his group acts as China’s representative” is without foundation. ”
Indian officials said the recent spike in violence dates back to September, when Naga insurgents walked away from decades-long peace negotiations. On September 28, Indian border guards intercepted a large cache of weapons destined for Indian insurgent groups along the India-Myanmar border and arrested three suspected arms traffickers, according to officials with direct knowledge of the matter.
New Delhi officials said those arrested explained that the Arakan Army was supplying weapons to Indian insurgents, which in turn received support from China to protect investments such as roads and gas pipelines in an economic corridor that runs from Sittwe port. to Kunming. China was also helping Indian rebels with weapons and logistics, including hiding places along the India-Myanmar border, the officials said.
Calls and WhatsApp messages to the Indian Ministry of the Interior requesting comment received no response. Repeated efforts to contact senior members of the Nagaland National Socialist Council, whose leaders were believed to be in Kunming, were unsuccessful.
Armed militia
Several dozen armed militias are active in northeast India, fighting for independence or greater autonomy. When asked by journalists on November 6 whether China was using armed ethnic groups in Myanmar to support Indian rebels, a senior Indian Interior Ministry official declined to answer directly. “Some of the insurgent groups are troublemakers, but we are negotiating peace with others,” Ajay Bhalla, the top Interior Ministry bureaucrat, said at a webinar organized by the National Defense College.
Brig. General Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for the Myanmar military, did not respond to emailed questions. Myanmar earlier this year designated the Arakan Army as a terrorist organization.
The chief of the Indian army arrived in Nagaland on November 24 for a three-day visit, underscoring the renewed intensity of the conflict. In late October, Indian and Burmese troops launched joint operations against Indian rebel groups, including one called the Manipur People’s Liberation Army. Meanwhile, the Myanmar military has targeted armed ethnic groups like the Arakan Army on its side of the border.
To be sure, levels of Chinese support for insurgents in the region are nowhere near the levels of the 1960s and 1970s.
When armed ethnic insurgencies broke out in remote northeastern states of India in the 1950s and 1960s, it was its staunch rival Pakistan that first supplied arms to armed groups. Soon, however, “it was China that became the main supplier of ammunition for the ethnic insurgents. Many were also trained in China, “wrote Swedish journalist and regional expert Bertil Lintner in his 2012 book” The Great East Game: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Border, “adding that” today, the Chinese government does not support these groups, but they have had access to the so-called black arms market, actually more gray, in China ”.
Conflict of interests
China is unlikely to use a third country to pressure India because that would prompt New Delhi’s leaders to do the same in return, according to Fan Hongwei, a professor at Xiamen University’s Research School of Southeast Asian Studies.
“China would hope to solve the bilateral problems between the two countries, rather than make it more complex, which would not be in keeping with China’s consistent policy and interests,” he said.
Both India and China are investing in Myanmar for strategic reasons. Beijing is investing in gas pipelines and roads to link its southern province of Yunnan with the Bay of Bengal, allowing key imports to bypass the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Meanwhile, India is investing in the 29 billion rupee ($ 292 million) multi-modal Kaladan project to connect its northeastern underdeveloped states with the Bay of Bengal.
“China knows that the region is crucial to India’s future connectivity to Southeast Asia,” said Ian Hall, professor of international relations at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and author of ‘Modi and the Reinvention of Foreign Policy India’. “He also knows that securing the region is challenging and has been very costly for New Delhi in the past.”

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