Chinese arms reaching insurgent in Northeast: India

11 06 2008

Courtesy: Khabarein.com
NEW DELHI, May 22 (KUNA) — India Thursday expresssed concern over the possession of Chinese origin arms by the insurgent groups in India’s Northeast and stated that such weapons were entering into the country through Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Chinese made weapons were increasingly being seized from insurgent groups in India’s Northeast and such arms have also reached the illegal arms market in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a source in the Indian Defence Ministry told KUNA here Thursday. “Most of these arms are entering India through the Myanmar and Bangladesh route” it is clear from the design that they are of Chinese origin,” the source said. “We are concerned over growing Chinese influence in the region. The cost of the Chinese made weapons in the black market in the Northeast region is within the affordable range and this is a cause of concern,” the source pointed out. “While the trend had been growing over the last coupe of years, the seizure of a massive arms consignment in 2004 in Chittagong in Southeast Bangladesh brought things out in the open for the first time. It was one of the biggest-ever arms seizures in Bangladesh and raised alarm bells throughout the region, including us, after it was known that the Chinese-origin weapons were meant for Northeast insurgent groups,” the source said.

Over 1,700 assault rifles, 400 Uzi submachine guns, 150 rocket propelled grenade launchers and a large quantity of ammunition originating from Hong Kong were seized by Bangladesh authorities in 2004 at the port city of Chittagong.

India’s concerns were also echoed by leading global defence think-tank Jane’s Intelligence Review (JIR). In a report published this month, JIR said that China has replaced Cambodia and Thailand as the main supplier of weapons to insurgent groups in India’s Northeast and Myanmar as well as LTTE in Sri Lanka.

“Rebel group — United Wa State Army (UWSA) — in Myanmar acts as the middleman between Chinese arms manufacturers and insurgent groups in the Northeast, with most weapons routed through China’s Yunnan province, “India’s leading English daily “The Indian Express” reported Thursday, quoting JIR. UWSA is a 20,000-member group operating in eastern Myanmar. “China’s illicit arms trade with rebel groups — LTTE and the Kachin Independence Army in Myanmar — is also on the upswing,” the JIR said. “LTTE websites display photographs of a range of new Chinese weaponry, including the modern 5.56 mm QBZ-95 bull pup-design assault rifles that the rebels cannot claim to have captured from the Sri Lankan Armed forces,” the daily said.

“Taliban militia in Afghanistan have also been gaining access to Chinese arms. So are African conflict zones of Zimbabwe and Sudan,” The Indian Express reported, quoting JIR.

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