Is there a China factor?

Alleged involvement of foreign hand in aiding insurgents in Manipur must worry India
"Experts say that people of Manipur deserve peace hence strong initiative is warranted to bring an end to the violence which has destroyed social fabric and brotherhood amongst the various communities."
"Experts say that people of Manipur deserve peace hence strong initiative is warranted to bring an end to the violence which has destroyed social fabric and brotherhood amongst the various communities."File: ANI

Indian government will have to chalk out a fresh strategy to deal with China angle in inciting the violence in Manipur which has come to the fore after the revelations and expose by former army chief, M.M.Maravane about the possible involvement of China (Foreign Hand) in aiding various insurgents groups in Manipur to flare up the violence.

Manipur shares 400 km long border with Myanmar which is in the grip of political turmoil hence prone to Chinese design to provide weapons and financial help to insurgents who operate from this country.

China has got history of smuggling of arms to terror groups which had been pointed out by the military generals four years back. Experts say that union home ministry should directly handle the volatile situation in Manipur and investigate the apprehension of Foreign Hand express by former army chief who can not be taken lightly as he has got no vested interest except national security concern.

Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey also expressed apprehensions about infiltration of inimical elements from across the border. But entry of insurgents from Myanmar is being dubbed as failure of our security forces by the opposition.

China’s dubious role

Experts believe that the ex-army chief might be having some clues about the inflow of the assistance from China via insurgents’ groups which operate from Myanmar. China will always try to destabilise the peaceful border states like Manior, Arunachal etc. which suits it strategically.

Myanmar army accusations 

Military generals including General Hlaing had flagged Myanmar’s concerns around the weapons being supplied to terror organizations like Arakan Army(AA) and Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) which were active in Rakhine State in western Myanmar bordering China.

Army officials had cited China-made weapons which had been used by terror groups in mine attacks on the military in 2019. Military had busted a huge cache of weapons costing between USD 70,000 to 90,000 from banned Ta’ang National Liberation Army four years back and highlighted Chinese connection to these arms.

In this background, China will not leave any stone unturned to utilize the Myanmar border to support the insurgents who are feeling pressure under the Military regime in Burma. 

The world attention has been diverted to the Ukraine War hence army generals are committing excesses on the democratic forces under Aung Suu Kyi and India is trying to maintain a neutral stance which is proving costly as confrontation between army and common people continues unabated.

Experts say that army generals are confined to stick to power hence they are not bothered about infiltration and supply of weapons from across the border to violent groups in Manipur. The continuation of a civil war like situation in Manipur may affect the outcome of 2024 polls in its adjoining states which has got dominance of the saffron party so far.

Political fallout

Political observers opine that Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram will go to polls by the end of 2023 which will be crucial for BJP to make desperate attempt to retain power at the center in 2024.

Second, it will be mandatory for BJP to have peace in Manipur which has got a tag of Double Engine Sarkar; hence failure will mean negativity of such arrangement which was always quoted by  top leaders as a slogan to score over opposition in the elections.

Third, the opposition may exploit this issue against the Modi government in the ensuing assembly polls hence peace restoration is mandatory to snatch this issue from opposition.

European parliament resolution

Notwithstanding India's denial about Manipur thereby describing it as internal matter, the European parliament did pass a resolution which asked Indian authorities to take all necessary measures and make utmost efforts to urgently halt the ongoing ethnic and religious violence to protect religious minorities like Manipur’s Christian Community.

It had drawn the attention of the entire world which has put India’s democracy in a bad light. India has rebuffed the European Parliament for having a colonial mindset which was unacceptable.

Political connotation

In the turn of events, it has become a serious issue of open confrontation between the Modi government and newly formed opposition front, I.N.D.I.A which had sent its 21 MPs as a elegation to riot torn state of Manipur.

The opposition has blocked the proceedings in parliament and is pressing for PM’s reply.

Modi had reacted briefly outside the parliament and attacked the opposition for misleading the nation. PM had asked congress ruled states in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to take measures to stop atrocities on women which had infuriated the Grand old party leadership. Now the stage is set for face to face hostility in Parliament.

Unfortunately, ruling part and the opposition may be focused on the political gain which may be suicidal as Manipur violence has endangered the national security.

Similarly, warring communities have been selling their narratives which, at times, may be far from truth and belies the optimism of Indians in general who want peace and solution of this lingering unprecedented problem.

Experts feel that center should speed up the fencing of 163 kms Mynmar-Indo border which will check the infiltration of terrorists from across the border though terror groups from India also take shelter in Myanmar hence they will never wish the competition of the fencing.

Experts say that people of Manipur deserve peace hence strong initiative is warranted to bring an end to the violence which has destroyed social fabric and brotherhood amongst the various communities.

Center and opposition need to make joint efforts by rising above petty politics which will be good for the country also.

(Writer is political analyst based in Shimla)

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