Homeland Security

Maoists : China's Proxy Soldiers
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Issue Vol 25.3 Jul-Sep2010 | Date : 06 Oct , 2010

The Bangladesh based Maoist parties, mostly active in the western part of the country are in cahoots with Indian Maoists.” He further added that the arms of Chinese origin are inducted by sea route from Haldia, Kasaba Naraingarh (Midnapur) area to areas like Khantpara, Baripada etc.

The present Home Secretary maintains, “Chinese are large suppliers of small arms and I am sure the Maoists get it from them.” In 2004, 10 truck loads of light and medium machineguns as also huge quantity of ammunition was seized at Chittagong port in Bangladesh. One of the senior officers of the National Security Intelligence of Bangladesh on interrogation has revealed that the entire consignments of arms were procured from China. He also said that ULFA and NSCN (IM) leaders visit Kunming in China to procure arms, which is also supplied to the Maoists in Nepal and India.

Given the propensities of the ultra-leftist parties to split on flimsiest reasons, who does the government talk to “¦

The anti-India and pro-China leanings of the Indian Maoists is evidenced by the press release (5 May 2009) of CPI (Maoist) Central Committee on developments in Nepal: “US imperialism and Indian expansionism are particularly perturbed over the growing influence of China over the region, consolidation of China’s grip over Sri Lanka, and fear that the government in Nepal is moving closer to China. And it is this fear which is common to both India and the US that has pushed these powers to oust the government led by Maoists in a bid to install a regime loyal to them. …it, (Indian Maoists), pledges all support to the Maoists in Nepal in their fight against Indian expansionism.”

On 02 October 2009, a senior Maoist leader Srinivasan clearly spoke of the linkage of the Maoists in India with China. In the same month, the Foreign Minister of Nepal Ms Sujata Koirala stated that the Maoists in India were receiving arms and aid from China through the Maoists in Nepal. Another Maoist leader has spoken about the Indian Maoists receiving training in the Yunan province of China through the aegis of ULFA. There are 10 China Study Centres in Nepal, five of which are in Terai along the India-Nepal border. These centres serve as conduits, facilitation nodes and indoctrination centres for the Indian Maoists.

Other External Linkages

The internationalist character of the Maoists is evidenced by its membership of Coordination Committee Of Maoist parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA), which was created in July 2001 after a meeting of nine South Asian Maoist parties in West Bengal. The organization resolved to follow the teachings of Marx, Lenin and Mao, and not the least, to build on the examples and experience of Protracted People’s Wars in Peru, Nepal, Philippines, India, Turkey and elsewhere. The Maoist leader Kishanji: “The Islamic upsurge should not be opposed as it is basically anti-US and anti-imperilistic in nature. We therefore want it to grow.”

The Maoist movement in India, therefore, is not homegrown. It is a ideological movement to capture Indian territory and overthrow the present parliamentary system of democracy. It is for this reason that they label their movement as ‘war’, their hostages as ‘Prisoners of War’, and the areas where they hold complete sway as ‘liberated zones’. A Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative Mohammad Omar Madni, now in custody, has revealed that the LeT was acting in coordination with the CPI (M) in Jharkhand. This was reported by the Times of India on 9 June 2009.

Tribal Cause: A Smoke Screen

This is not the first time that the Maoist movement has threatened the integrity of the country. The Naxalbari movement grew rapidly between 1969 and 1971. In 1971 the war clouds were hovering over India and India’s eastern theatre had become strategically sensitive. Given the China-Pakistan strategic partnership and China-Naxalite links, Mrs Gandhi realized the need to tackle the naxals immediately and with a firm hand. She announced in parliament that naxalites will be fought to the finish. Accordingly, Operation Steeplechase was launched from July to August 1971 by the army, police in West Bengal and bordering districts of Bihar and Orissa. There were 1400 arrests in Andhra, 2000 in Bihar, 4000 in West Bengal and 1000 in Kerala. Several leaders were killed. This clearly indicates that even then the Maoist movement was pan-Indian in nature and had little to do with demands of development and local grievances.

Hardly any Indian business concern or Indian project has escaped the intimidation and violence of the Maoists in Nepal, but no Chinese industries, business interests and projects have been targeted.

In the 80s, most of the Maoist violence was in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Maoists had made no inroads into the tribal areas. It is only when certain areas of Andhra Pradesh became virtually Maoist territories and served as the epicenter that the movement began to make inroads in Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. The newly formed ‘Peoples War Group’ was more violent and vicious than its previous version. Therefore, to paint the Maoist menace as a upsurge by the tribal population, is a travesty of truth. Of the 40 districts in Bihar, 32 are impacted by the Maoist insurgency. Of these, there are hardly any districts with any significant tribal population. Less than one-third of the blocks in Jharkhand have majority tribal population.

Furthering China’s Interests

The focus of the Maoist leadership on the tribal regions, as has emerged from the interrogation of arrested Maoist leaders, is because they constitute the mineral heartland of India. By destroying mineral activity in that area, they intend to target India’s economic growth. Moreover, illegal mining activity by the Maoists in collusion with some politicians and bureaucrats is a huge industry. A large chunk of the illegally mined iron ore is given legitimacy through intimidated and sympathetic officials, and is being shipped to China. It may be mentioned that India’s production of steel is around ten percent of that of China (approx 600 million tons). Most of China’s steel is produced from iron ore of Indian and Australian origin.

The spread of the Maoist terror in the mineral heartland of India therefore has directly benefits China. It also gives the Maoists easy access to huge quantities of explosives, used for mining purposes. Some of these explosives are being supplied to the Maoists in Nepal. At least, three such consignments have been impounded in Bihar. In terms of availability of explosives and expertise in IEDs, the jihadi organizations pale into insignificance. Much of the training in IEDs has been provided by the LTTE in the past.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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