GUWAHATI, Jan 1 � It is not possible for the leaders of the militant groups of North East including Commander-in Chief of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Paresh Baruch to stay in China without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, said former GOC of the 4 Corps of the Army, Lt Gen (Reid) DB Shekhatkar.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Lt Gen Shekhatkar, who is well versed with the security scenario in the North East, said that no militant leader can stay in a country like China without any tacit understanding with the authorities and the leaders of the militant groups of the region must have been receiving help from some officials of China. It may be mentioned here that according to reports available with the Government of India, Paresh Baruah and other militant leaders / frequently visit China.
The retired Army officer said that no militant can stay hidden in one place as he would have to get ration, medicines etc. and it is impossible to believe that China is not aware of the presence of militants. For example, Pakistan had been denying the presence of Osama Bin Laden despite the fact that he was living under the nose of Pakistan Army. Similarly, India is well aware of the presence of Dawd Ibrahim in Pakistan but the Government of that country is denying the same, he added.
Lt Gen Shekhatkar pointed out that China must have been giving assistance directly or indirectly to the militant groups as a part of its long term strategy. He said that whenever a country is bogged down with internal troubles, it can lose sight of external security and China would definitely try to keep India busy with its own problems. He pointed out that India was busy with Kashmir and Siachen area when it was caught off guard in Kargil.
The retired Army officer said that by helping the militant groups, China can very well create trouble within India without losing its own manpower and resources and the possibility of the Chinese helping the Naxal groups also cannot be ruled out as these groups are fighting a �people�s war� encouraged by China. All the militant groups are now using Chinese weapons and without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, it would have been impossible for the militants to gather such huge lots of weapons manufactured in that country, he added.
On the process of talks with the ULFA, Lt Gen Shekhatkar expressed the view that the Government should be careful about the activities of the militants who have come forward for talks. He said that the possibility of some of them maintaining links with hard line militants like Paresh Baruah cannot be ruled out and the security forces should keep surveillance on their activities. He pointed out that Yashin Malik was released in Kashmir to bring the Hurriat conference to the negotiation table but the move backfired. Such a situation should not be repeated in Assam, he added.