‘China has exploited

tribal alienation along India-Myanmar border’

China has “exploited” the sense of alienation and insecurity among tribal communities along the India-Myanmar border — who have been protesting against the fencing being undertaken along the border — in order to “cause insurgency and instability” in northeast India, according to a research paper.

The paper was written by a police officer and submitted at a conference last week. It added that insurgents sourced their arms from China and brought them into India through Myanmar.

Second paper

Another paper, also presented at the annual All India Conference of Directors-General and Inspectors-General of Police, cited intelligence inputs to claim that there was a “historical link” between China and the northeastern insurgents.

India shares a 1,643-km long border with Myanmar that passes through four States: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. Given the historical and cultural linkages between people on both sides, the border is relatively porous, and there is a free movement regime in place under which locals can move up to 16 km on either side of the border.

The first paper stated that efforts taken by both India and Myanmar to fence the border have been protested by tribal communities on both sides, who fear that the demarcation would lead to them losing their land and forest access to the other side.

Historical link

The second paper cited above said, “It is suggested based on intelligence inputs, that there exists a historical link between the northeast insurgents and China. The arms acquired from China are smuggled through Thailand, Bangladesh and Sino-Myanmar borders into the northeastern States.”

Therefore, in addition to the fencing strategy, the first paper suggested that India — with more than 15,000 km of borders coupled with a hostile neighbourhood — has to follow a multi-modal approach to mitigate the challenges of unfenced borders.

Arguing that politics in the northeastern States were so unpredictable, a third paper said, “If we have to take on China more successfully, then we have to engage the people in northeast and sort out the issues.”