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Diplo-terrorism by China for leverage over Myanmar, India

By KALYAN BAROOAH

NEW DELHI, Oct 29 - China is attempting diplo-terrorism through Arakan Army for leverage over Myanmar and India, which also presents the violent side of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. This not only ensnares Myanmar in debt traps, but seeks to bar competitors through violent means by actions of sub-state actors.

According to sources, China has used the same tactics as a weapon against India. Training of Indian insurgent groups in the northeastern states, besides providing arms and ammunition to them and harbouring of exiled leaders has been a recurrent facet of China�s diplo-terrorism against India. In Myanmar, China has used Arakan Army, an Arakanese armed group declared as a terrorist organisation by Myanmar, to limit India�s inroads through the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport and Transit Project.

What has sent alarm bells ringing is the growing Chinese involvement with the insurgent outfits of Northeast India. Recently, a large consignment of Chinese made weapons comprising AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns, anti-tank mines, grenades and ammunition valued at approximately USD 1 million was seized in Mae Sot district of Thailand bordering Myanmar.

This seized cache is not the only consignment of Chinese weapons that has made its way into the region. In February this year, 500 assault rifles, 30 machine guns, 70,000 rounds of ammunition, a huge stock of grenades and significantly, a few Chinese portable air defence missile systems were offloaded at Monakhali beach near the coastal junction of Myanmar and Bangladesh from where it reached the Arakan Army camp at Sandak and further smuggled into Rakhine using the Parva corridor in south Mizoram.

The seized weapons are Chinese made and are also reported to be smuggled to the Indian insurgent groups based at the Myanmar border as they pay good prices. Some prominent insurgent groups, especially those from Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram, maintain regular contact with Chinese intelligence agencies and are reported to have historically benefitted from Chinese largesse and weapons.

Since 2013, China has exported USD 720 million worth weaponry to the Myanmar Army, all the while supplying funds and weaponry, including shoulder fired surface to air missiles to the Arakan Army. China has made itself complicit at both ends, whether it is through the Arakan Army adopting terrorist means in pursuit of its goals within Myanmar, or the Myanmar military clamping down on ethnic groups in total disregard of their human rights.

The Arakan Army was raised in 2009 under the Kachin Independence Organisation along the China border � the same year the Kaladan project was announced by India. In 2019, when a phase of the Kaladan project was nearing completion, the Arakan Army shifted its area of operations to Rakhine and Southern Chin. Nearly 600 instances of clashes between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar Army were reported in 2019, majority of which were in close proximity of the Kaladan project, sources said.

The Arakan Army, however, always kept its anti-Kaladan activities below a certain threshold to not raise the ante. Nevertheless, there have been more than four instances of targeting of the shipments and attacks on Myanmar Army providing security, and abductions which overall have severely impeded the execution of the project.

Interestingly, the Arakan Army has also declared its decision to levy taxes on the Indian project, while in the same breath has exempted all ongoing Chinese projects in the region. According to reports, China provides up to 95 per cent of Arakan Army�s funding.

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Diplo-terrorism by China for leverage over Myanmar, India

NEW DELHI, Oct 29 - China is attempting diplo-terrorism through Arakan Army for leverage over Myanmar and India, which also presents the violent side of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. This not only ensnares Myanmar in debt traps, but seeks to bar competitors through violent means by actions of sub-state actors.

According to sources, China has used the same tactics as a weapon against India. Training of Indian insurgent groups in the northeastern states, besides providing arms and ammunition to them and harbouring of exiled leaders has been a recurrent facet of China�s diplo-terrorism against India. In Myanmar, China has used Arakan Army, an Arakanese armed group declared as a terrorist organisation by Myanmar, to limit India�s inroads through the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport and Transit Project.

What has sent alarm bells ringing is the growing Chinese involvement with the insurgent outfits of Northeast India. Recently, a large consignment of Chinese made weapons comprising AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns, anti-tank mines, grenades and ammunition valued at approximately USD 1 million was seized in Mae Sot district of Thailand bordering Myanmar.

This seized cache is not the only consignment of Chinese weapons that has made its way into the region. In February this year, 500 assault rifles, 30 machine guns, 70,000 rounds of ammunition, a huge stock of grenades and significantly, a few Chinese portable air defence missile systems were offloaded at Monakhali beach near the coastal junction of Myanmar and Bangladesh from where it reached the Arakan Army camp at Sandak and further smuggled into Rakhine using the Parva corridor in south Mizoram.

The seized weapons are Chinese made and are also reported to be smuggled to the Indian insurgent groups based at the Myanmar border as they pay good prices. Some prominent insurgent groups, especially those from Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram, maintain regular contact with Chinese intelligence agencies and are reported to have historically benefitted from Chinese largesse and weapons.

Since 2013, China has exported USD 720 million worth weaponry to the Myanmar Army, all the while supplying funds and weaponry, including shoulder fired surface to air missiles to the Arakan Army. China has made itself complicit at both ends, whether it is through the Arakan Army adopting terrorist means in pursuit of its goals within Myanmar, or the Myanmar military clamping down on ethnic groups in total disregard of their human rights.

The Arakan Army was raised in 2009 under the Kachin Independence Organisation along the China border � the same year the Kaladan project was announced by India. In 2019, when a phase of the Kaladan project was nearing completion, the Arakan Army shifted its area of operations to Rakhine and Southern Chin. Nearly 600 instances of clashes between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar Army were reported in 2019, majority of which were in close proximity of the Kaladan project, sources said.

The Arakan Army, however, always kept its anti-Kaladan activities below a certain threshold to not raise the ante. Nevertheless, there have been more than four instances of targeting of the shipments and attacks on Myanmar Army providing security, and abductions which overall have severely impeded the execution of the project.

Interestingly, the Arakan Army has also declared its decision to levy taxes on the Indian project, while in the same breath has exempted all ongoing Chinese projects in the region. According to reports, China provides up to 95 per cent of Arakan Army�s funding.

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