China has exploited tribal alienation along India-Myanmar border

Source: The post is based on the article “China has exploited tribal alienation along India-Myanmar border” published in The Hindu on 25th January 2023

What is the News?

Indian Police Service(IPS) officers have presented three papers on China at the annual All India Conference of Directors-General and Inspectors-General of Police.

What are the key highlights from these documents on China?

China trying to create instability in the North east: India shares a 1,643-km long border with Myanmar that passes through four States: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. 

Given the historical and cultural linkages between people on both sides, the border is relatively porous, and there is a free movement regime in place under which locals can move up to 16 km on either side of the border.

Efforts taken by both India and Myanmar to fence the border have been protested by tribal communities on both sides, who fear that the demarcation would lead to them losing their land and forest access to the other side.

China is exploiting this sense of alienation and insecurity among tribal communities along the India-Myanmar border in order to “cause insurgency and instability” in northeast India.

Historical link between the northeast insurgents and China: Based on intelligence inputs, there exists a historical link between the northeast insurgents and China. The arms acquired from China are smuggled through Thailand, Bangladesh and Sino-Myanmar borders into the northeastern States.

Investment in Neighboring countries: China is investing huge amounts of money in the neighboring countries of India mainly Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka in the name of infrastructure development and other financial assistance.

Without exception, India’s neighboring countries have described China as a crucial development partner, either as a funder or in providing technological and logistical support. 

However, the economic element is increasingly intertwined with political, government and people-to-people aspects of these relationships.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities for China to work directly with these countries in new ways such as the provision of medical equipment, biomedical expertise and capital for coronavirus-related needs.

Hence, these developments demonstrate that China’s presence in Southeast and South Asia is no longer predominantly economic but involves a greater, multidimensional effort to enhance its posture and further its long term strategic interests in the region.

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