The recent violence in Indian state of Manipur has been one of the most discussed subjects on the internet worldwide. The violence is mainly triggered due to ethnic tensions between the local Meitei and Kuki tribes. Though it is purely India’s internal matter and most of the debates around Manipur are within the chambers of political and communal conflict, one thing which has gone beyond notice was the stake of the beneficiaries in the whole scenario who are taking massive advantage of the inter- tribal and political tensions in Manipur and will leave no stone unturned to fuel similar situations in other adjoining Indian states. The political unrest in this region may be due to internal issues but the recent under cover developments and activities in the region appears to have a clear foreign influence.

The Drug Cartel: If it is thought that drugs is just a small reason to de-stabilize a region, it is important to read the sad story of Afghanistan and the opium wars fought between the British and China from 1839-1842. The entire belt of hilly terrain which includes India’s north eastern states and Myanmar is highly fertile with large sources of fresh water. Apart from rich natural resources, the terrain also supports massive opium growth. According to United Nation’s office on Drugs & Crime report 2022 (Link), the opium production in Myanmar has increased by 30% in the past few years which is rapidly in creasing. If not seen from a political point of view, the entire region from Myanmar to the Indian seven sister states has the same topography, climate and vegetation.

The massive opium network of the region is one of the prime reasons of the growing Chinese interest apart from military and defense logic. The research report (Link) of French scholar geographer and leading specialist in the politics of illicit drugs in Asia Dr. Pierre Arnaud Chouvy also discusses about the illegal poppy cultivation in the Mishimi hills of Arunachal Pradesh. The report also estimates of the extent of illegal opium poppy cultivation in India never include the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, where large expanses of opium poppies can be found.

Extract from Dr. Pierre Arnaud Chouvy’s Report

Unmasking the Beneficiaries: One of the most unchecked international movements of people in the world is between the Indo- Nepal border where tourists and traders have been traveling both sides since historical times. No doubt that India and Nepal share a very close and warm relationship where both the countries are like home to each other. China through its debt trap and political bribing has infiltrated Nepal to quite an extent where a sudden rise of the pro- China left groups is visible due to massive funding by Beijing. What China appears to do in Nepal is not only limited to extending its influence in Nepal’s market up to Indian borders. China’s secret service MSS (Ministry of State Security) has also been highly active in Kathmandu where it has tapped and trained those Nepali traders whom it uses to spy and generate HUMINT (Human Intelligence) inside India’s north eastern states. MSS has been using warm Indo- Nepal relations as a proxy to establish a strong HUMINT and logistics network which is also used for funding local radical groups.

Chinese spies arrested in India between 2020-23

According to the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has transformed Nepal as a launching pad for infiltrating terrorists and spies into Indian territory. Former Chinese diplomat to Nepal Hou Yanqi is known to have developed better coordination between ISI and MSS in Nepal since she was specifically chosen to work in that country after her posting in Islamabad. Apart from exploiting weak immigration policy between India and Nepal for smuggling fake currency, explosives and Narcotics, ISI was also found projecting Chinese MSS (Ministry of State Security) intelligence agents as foreign grooms to lure Indian women and marry them off to get easy access into Indian territory. In February 2023, a 26-year-old Chinese national namely Wang Goujun visited Thailand to reach Nepal and later entered India without a valid visa through Nepal route. In October 2022, Delhi Police apprehended a Chinese woman, Cai Ruo, a native of Hainan province, for staying in India under a false identity. Through Nepal, China seems to have established an active HUMINT (Humint Intelligence) network, while it has already infiltrated into Myanmar by creating ethnic tensions among local tribes and supplying them with weapons.

While Myanmar is a weapons testing ground for China, the West supported mercenaries appears to be equally supporting violence in the region with its influence on the ground level. In 2016, the world witnessed mass exodus of Rohingyas in Myanmar. Areas particularly the Rakhine state which was dominated by Rohingyas in Myanmar were cleared through ethnic violence where a larger picture, as shown in the media, entirely blamed Buddhists for the act. In 30 years, there have been more West trained missionaries in India’s North East and Myanmar than those of any other religion. Between 1930-1950, more than 15K baptist churches were established in north east and Myanmar’s Chin state to spread education due to which most of the tribes turned to Christianity. The tribal political system and demography of this region is such that no action can take place without taking the tribal leadership in confidence. Over a period of time, the unchecked movement of several West trained mercenaries under the cover of religious context has infiltrated  and exploited the good faith of Christianity to gain local influence.

Footage of militant camp ‘Victoria’ bombed on 10 Jan 23 in Chin state (Bordering Manipur) by Myanmar Air Force (Credit: Nepal Correspondence)

After the genocide of Rohingyas in Rakhine state, the West trained mercenaries appears to be highly active in the region under the cover of humanitarian aid. In May 2023, after cyclone Mocha hit Myanmar, the church requested the international aid agencies to supply relief materials. Father Nereus Tun Min, director of Catholic Karuna Pyay officially asked Papal charity Caritas International to deliver aid to affected places in Rakhine, Chin and Mandalay regions of Myanmar. Father Nereus also made a remarkable statement which uncovers the under current of the situation in Manipur. He said that “Karuna Pyay covers the worst-hit Rakhine state and Paletwa township in north- western Chin state (Bordering Manipur), a Christian majority area, which is also the stronghold of armed rebels, fighting against the ruling junta”. The United Nations has appealed for US$333 million to assist 1.6 million vulnerable people in Myanmar. However, the transaction of funds and surety of the same reaching the real victims of the natural calamity is not clear (Link)

Throughout the violence, what went unnoticed were the Chinese arms and ammunition seen in the hands of both the communities which instigated the bloodshed. Efforts to spark violence in Indian’s north eastern states are already up from some time. A lot of terror camps have mushroomed in Myanmar in the close proximity of the Indian borders which has massive storage of ammunition. Arms & Ammunition cannot be smuggled inside Indian territory without a strongly active HUMINT network of locals. An important news which went unnoticed was on 10th Jan 2023 at around 03:30 PM, when Myanmar air force bombed a Chin National Army (CNA) camp namely Victoria which was located near Farkwan village, 9kms away from Indian border in Myanmar. The strike killed five christian CNA cadres. The important part of the entire operation was that such camps are being installed in the close proximity of Indian borders through which arms and ammunition are being pushed into the Indian territory (Video link). The presence of such camps indicate that a lot more might have been done behind the curtains over a period of time and not only Manipur, but also other Indian states particularly West Bengal and Assam may also face difficult situation in the coming months due to its closest proximity to Siliguri corridor.

Why Manipur First? Bengal, Assam and Manipur are the three arterial states through which India will be connecting with larger SE Asia. With a number of infra projects growing, this piece of land is crucial to connecting larger SE Asia which includes Power grid integration, railroad link to Bangkok via Mandalay which may probably extended to Hanoi under Trans-asian Rail Road link if demand arises.

Indian Railways’ expansion in its north eastern states

Such infra projects will bring in large investments and business to the Indian north eastern states and will decentralize power, a considerable chunk of which is presently controlled by the mercenaries through local heads. Indian railway has already reached Khongsang which is a direct threat to the fake narrative created over the years that Indian government does not care for the North East. The fact is that New Delhi has always tried to strongly connect its north eastern states through development but it has been rejected and destroyed by local extremist groups which are directly controlled by external forces. With growing development in the North East, violence is likely to be fueled by external elements as railways and other infrastructure projects further reach Imphal and Moreh.

Riding on the self implanted anti- India sentiments and ideas of self-determination among the locals, the mercenaries go to the extent of preaching that more connectivity would bring in people from other parts of India and the world and eventually end up in preying upon local culture and existence. Thus, coming in way of developmental activities initiated by the state, the mercenaries backed by aids from overseas, hijack the tribal political- structure by moving locals against the Indian government’s development projects extended from time to time by New Delhi.

Geography & Demography of Manipur hints towards an experiment: Geographically, Manipur is situated right on the sweets pot through which rail road is possible. In the north of Manipur, hill humps will make it too difficult to create rail a link while down south, forests will cause environment & feasibility issues.

Demographically, from South East Arunachal till Mizoram and in the Chin State of western Myanmar, the West trained mercenaries disguised under religion, enjoy a massive control. Historically also, any push to infrastructure projects has been turned towards causing demographic fears at community level. Even the local religious leaders have never come out in number to support Indian government’s development projects at the community level. At the same time, locals have also been instigated against the Indian governments by creating a narrative that the north eastern states are being rejected by New Delhi. Since Chin state is where most of these projects are aligned, the perpetrators can be identified easily at the local level.

On 26 July 2023, reports came in which nearly 718 terrorists from Myanmar infiltrated into Manipur and attacked the Indian security forces in Moreh. The event clearly marks an open attack on India from Myanmar where terrorists armed with Chinese weapons and aided by West sponsored mercenaries raided inside Indian borders. The aggravation is orchestrating as a proxy war by China on the eastern borders of India while Pakistan has been engaging in onslaughts of similar avatar since 30 years in Kashmir. The theory of a two front war at Indian borders appears to have turned real with a slight change of being an unconventional proxy war rather than a direct conflict.

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