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China�s war potential a threat to India: Lt Gen (Retd) Sinha

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Sept 30 � China�s growing war potential poses a threat to the security of India and the possibility of United Liberation Front of Asom, (ULFA) commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah receiving help from that country cannot be ruled out, said former Governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Gen (Reid) SK Sinha.

Sinha also said that India must take adequate steps like some western countries did to deal with the threat of Islamic militancy.

Following are excerpts from an interview with The Assam Tribune:

Assam Tribune: How do you rate the security scenario of Assam and other parts of North East at present?

SK Sinha: The security sit-uation in the North East today is much better than in the past although the China factor looms large and is a matter of grave concern. China�s grow-ing war potential poses a threat. No matter how friend-ly a neighbour may be, we must always be prepared to counter its potential threat. Policy changes can take place in a short time frame but de-veloping defence potential takes time. Diplomacy in terms of good relations with countries of South East Asia, defence preparedness, and economic development should be the corner stones of India�s policy in the North East.

AT: One faction of the ULFA has come to the negotiation table but will the talks be suc-cessful as the other faction headed by Paresh Baruah is still at large?

Sinha: It is good that we are having talks with ULFA leaders and they seem to have abandoned their previous hard stand. Suspension of operations has taken place. Paresh Baruah continues to pursue his own agenda and may be getting generous support from China. The phase of insurgency in Assam of the Eighties and Nineties is long over as popular support of the people for the ULFA no longer exists as in the old days. Paresh Baruah group is now a terrorist outfit instead of being an insurgency movement. Peace and development in

Assam along with stern action against the terrorists should be pursued.

AT: The Government of India has started talks with a number of militant groups of the North East but don�t you think that the slow progress of talks will complicate the situation?

Sinha: We should not worry too much about the slow pace of talks as long as talks are proceeding in the right directions. I am hopeful that the final outcome of these talks will satisfy all stake holders.

AT: Do you think that there is a threat to the North East from Islamic militant groups?

Sinha: Not only the North East but the whole country and for that matter the entire world, faces a threat from Islamic militants. We as a nation must prepare ourselves to deal with this threat as indeed many countries in the West are doing effectively.

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China�s war potential a threat to India: Lt Gen (Retd) Sinha

GUWAHATI, Sept 30 � China�s growing war potential poses a threat to the security of India and the possibility of United Liberation Front of Asom, (ULFA) commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah receiving help from that country cannot be ruled out, said former Governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Gen (Reid) SK Sinha.

Sinha also said that India must take adequate steps like some western countries did to deal with the threat of Islamic militancy.

Following are excerpts from an interview with The Assam Tribune:

Assam Tribune: How do you rate the security scenario of Assam and other parts of North East at present?

SK Sinha: The security sit-uation in the North East today is much better than in the past although the China factor looms large and is a matter of grave concern. China�s grow-ing war potential poses a threat. No matter how friend-ly a neighbour may be, we must always be prepared to counter its potential threat. Policy changes can take place in a short time frame but de-veloping defence potential takes time. Diplomacy in terms of good relations with countries of South East Asia, defence preparedness, and economic development should be the corner stones of India�s policy in the North East.

AT: One faction of the ULFA has come to the negotiation table but will the talks be suc-cessful as the other faction headed by Paresh Baruah is still at large?

Sinha: It is good that we are having talks with ULFA leaders and they seem to have abandoned their previous hard stand. Suspension of operations has taken place. Paresh Baruah continues to pursue his own agenda and may be getting generous support from China. The phase of insurgency in Assam of the Eighties and Nineties is long over as popular support of the people for the ULFA no longer exists as in the old days. Paresh Baruah group is now a terrorist outfit instead of being an insurgency movement. Peace and development in

Assam along with stern action against the terrorists should be pursued.

AT: The Government of India has started talks with a number of militant groups of the North East but don�t you think that the slow progress of talks will complicate the situation?

Sinha: We should not worry too much about the slow pace of talks as long as talks are proceeding in the right directions. I am hopeful that the final outcome of these talks will satisfy all stake holders.

AT: Do you think that there is a threat to the North East from Islamic militant groups?

Sinha: Not only the North East but the whole country and for that matter the entire world, faces a threat from Islamic militants. We as a nation must prepare ourselves to deal with this threat as indeed many countries in the West are doing effectively.