After being defeated in the battlefield repeatedly by the Indian Armed Forces and having lost Kashmir post the abolition of Article 370, Pakistan is trying to revive insurgency in Northeast, with the help of its all-time ally, China. In November, it was reported that Pakistani diplomats in Dhaka were actively financing the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), a terrorist group that wants to separate Assam from India.
“While the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism including NE insurgents, Dhaka-based Pakistan diplomats had allegedly initiated plans to back NE rebels including the ULFA,” reported Economic Times after the arrest of ULFA second-in-command Dhristi Rajkhowa.
The ULFA leader was in contact with Pakistani High Commissioner in Dhaka and even the previous regime of Bangladesh led by Islamic nationalist Khaleda Zia has actively supported and sheltered the insurgent group members of the Northeast. Though with the incumbent Hasina government the support at the government level was eliminated, the Pakistani High Commission rooted in Bangladesh continues their anti-India activities.
The ISI and Chinese intelligence agencies want to create a Kashmir-like situation in Northeast as the valley has already slipped out of their hands. With the active financing and support from Pakistan and China, the terrorist groups like ULFA are getting emboldened with every passing day.
On the Republic Day, many banned terrorist groups including United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) and Co-ordination Committee (CorCom) and Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK) of Manipur have called for a shutdown. The Assam government has beefed up the security in Northeastern states and security agencies have launched search operations in waterways, roadways, railway stations and other suspected places in Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur to ensure that such terror groups do not create ruckus in the region.
In the last few years, India has established good relations with Bangladesh and Myanmar and both countries are helping the Indian Armed Forces in their fight against the terrorist groups of Northeast like ULFA. Unlike such good neighbours, China plays spoilsport every time, along with Pakistan actively financing the recruitment of new members and providing logistical and intelligence support.
On May 15 last year, Myanmar handed over 22 Northeast insurgents to India, of whom 12 were associated with four terror groups active in Manipur- UNLF, PREPAK (Pro), KYKL and PLA, while the other ten were associated with insurgent groups in Assam such as NDFB (S) and KLO. This could have been a red-letter day in India’s fight against insurgent groups like ULFA in the Northeast, only if China had not played spoilsport.
China ensured that not a single high-profile insurgent leader was amongst the 22 extradited to India from Myanmar. According to a senior police officer in Manipur, Myanmar had acted upon the intelligence shared by India, but China had already ensured a safe passage for the top insurgents on the radar of security agencies even before Myanmar acted.
The Myanmar Army (MA) had cracked down on the Northeast insurgent groups with their camps in Myanmar in February and March last year. Intelligence sources said that a list of top militant leaders of the Northeast was shared to be acted upon.
The Chairman of the United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I) Abhijit Barman, the outfit’s commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, finance secretary in-charge Jibon Moran and the Manipur’s People’s Liberation Army Irengbam Chaoren were among the ones put on the radar.
But only the middle-rung or cadres of insurgent groups like ULFA could be taken into custody, as the top militants found safe passage into the Yunnan Province of China.
China and Pakistan are trying to revive insurgency in Northeast by funding terror groups like ULFA after the Modi government with the abolition of Article 370, but haven’t succeeded so far. All they could do was protecting the old leaders because the youth of the Northeast is already rallying behind Prime Minister Modi like the rest of India.