Friday, November 12, 2010

Other updates (November 12, 2010)

1) Nepalese maoists and their nexus with their Indian counterparts: Linky

Nepal Army will raise its objections and concern at a key defence meeting on Thursday at the allegation by the former Maoist guerrillas that it concocted a report about the ex-rebels training Indian Maoists in their camps as part of a “conspiracy” to pave the way for Indian military intervention in Nepal. “It is a baseless allegation levelled not only against the army but the Prime Minister as well,” said Brigadier General Ramindra Chhetri, spokesperson of the Nepal Army. “Our representative Brig-General Purna Chandra Thapa has been asked to convey our serious objections and concern at the meeting of the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee that sits today.”

The army reaction came after Nepal’s Maoists, stung by an allegation by India that the PLA had given arms training to nearly 300 Indian Maoists in Nepali territory this year, began a counter-propaganda war, calling it a conspiracy between India, the current caretaker government of Nepal and the Nepal Army. Maoist member of parliament and former PLA deputy chief Barsha Man Pun Ananta, who, India claims is one of the top Nepal Maoist leaders who signed a pact to provide the training to their Indian comrades, has now dragged the army and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal into the escalating row.

If you had missed it, this is what had happened: Linky

According to a media report of November 6, 2010 the Indian embassy in Kathmandu wrote to Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala and Home Minister Bhim Rawal, as well as to the Foreign and Home Secretaries of Nepal, claiming that two Nepalese Maoist leaders, Barshaman Pun Ananta and Haribol Gajurel, both commanders of the People’s Liberation Army of the Nepalese Maoists, signed a secret agreement with three leaders of the CPI (Maoist). According to the agreement the Nepalese Maoists would impart political and military training to the Indian rebels. Further, according to these reports, 300 Indian rebels have already been trained inside Nepal and the Nepalese Maoists have agreed to send some more trainers to the bordering Indian state of Bihar to conduct training camps for a larger number of Indian rebels.

On the other hand, the Nepalese Maoists have refuted these claims and alleged that it was Indian propaganda to hamper, if not derail, the ongoing peace process in Nepal. Whatever the claims, and their veracity, these reports are not new. There have been several such reports in the past, and the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) too had attested to the existence, at least at that point in time, of such linkages. Sample the following:

Annual Report, 2003-2004: “The symbiotic relationship between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and naxal groups like the MCCI and CPI – ML (PW) continues to prosper.” Further: “The MCCI is reported to have provided logistic support including arms, shelter and manpower to the [U]CPN (Maoist) … [and] [U]CPN (Maoist) cadre has reportedly received military training in MCCI camps.”
Annual Report, 2004-2005: “The symbiotic relationship… continues to grow with the MCCI and CPI - ML (PW) extending their military training camp facilities to [U]CPN (Maoist) cadres and availing arms training by senior cadres of the latter.”
Annual Report, 2005-2006: “Available reports indicate continued fraternal and logistic links between the [Unified] Communist Part of Nepal (Maoist) and Indian Naxalite groups.”

However, at some other points in time, the MHA claimed that there were no strategic linkages between the two outfits. For instance, speaking in Hyderabad on July 4, 2006, the then Union Home Secretary, V.K. Duggal said, “There is no physical link between Maoists in Nepal and India. However, there is an ideological link.” Nevertheless, there have been numerous reports on the nexus between the Nepalese and Indian Maoists. The earliest documented information on the linkages between them dates back to 1995, a year before the Unified CPN-M launched its ‘people’s war’, when a CPI – ML (PW) leader by name ‘Suresh’ issued a signed-joint statement, in English, with Prachanda, the UCPN (M) supremo, condemning Indian hegemonism, etc.

It has also been reported that the two top leaders of the UCPN (M), Prachanda and Babuarm Bhattarai, had visited North Telengana, in Andhra Pradesh, ahead of launching their own people’s war in Nepal, to study and learn first-hand how the then CPI-ML (PW) was spreading the movement there, which it showcased to the world as its ‘flagship’ guerrilla zone. Also, though there is no documented evidence, it is said that Prachanda had played a pivotal role in the merger of the CPI-ML (PW) and the MCCI that resulted in the founding of the CPI (Maoist). As one Naxalite-watcher noted: “Over the years, this association has evolved into a strategic alliance with a steady exchange of men and material, extension of training facilities and safe havens and facilitation and procurement of arms and explosives.”

Elsewhere, the Nepal Sansad ambles towards passing the Budget, with legalese dominating the show as of now. The first Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) from France have arrived. If folks recall, the Indian bid was usurped after last minute stalling by the maoists. A British firm has bidded to build the Mongla port which will be the transit destination for Bhutanese and Nepali goods via Indian territory to Bangladesh. And with the Bihar elections done and dusted, Nepal is back to square one. The same can be said about Burma now that the elections are done, but Suu Kyi release rumours seem like a big plant.
2) NDFB mayhem Linky

Ranjan Daimary, the supremo of the anti-talks faction of the NDFB who is now in jail, has lost control over the outfit and a few second-rung leaders are now calling the shots and directing operations, Assam police said today. The recent attacks by the outfit were done under the leadership of some of its top members like B. Jwngkang, alias John, the ‘deputy commander’ of the Boroland Army, ‘army commander’ Songbijit and leaders like Sagrid, Bidai, Jwmwi and Sotbangsa. They are moving around in the state in the absence Ranjan Daimary, the chairman of NDFB who is now in jail, he said.

Meanwhile, P Chidambaram is visiting the state and the huntdown of the anti-talks faction will begin, one hopes. Before the massacre, intel reports pointed to one such incident in the pipeline.
3) Elsewhere, some ambling towards posturing Linky

On Wednesday, the Indian Army formally raised the first battalion of the Arunachal Pradesh Scouts, a well-trained Army unit that will be operative only in Arunachal Pradesh. The functions and operations of the Arunachal Pradesh Scouts will be similar to that of the Ladakh Scouts, the frontier unit of the Indian Army that was crucial to the making of the Kargil War success story. The raising day of the Arunachal Pradesh Scouts was inaugurated by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu at the parade ground of the Assam Regimental Centre in Shillong. In his address to the soldiers, he said, "We should take pride that for the first time in the history of the Indian Army, a battalion has been named after the State of Arunachal Pradesh... Since this new battalion is born out of the Assam Regiment, you continue to be a part of the living symbol of martial strength and traditions of the Northeast... You will have the difficult task of making your own history and creating unparalleled traditions. I have no doubt that you will embark upon the arduous task of creating one of the strongest, cohesive, disciplined and operationally proficient battalions of the Indian Army." Khandu requested the recruits to give their best as his State and the rest of the country would look up to them with full faith as the sentinels of the country.

And trust but verify works, I guess. Linky

China has denied reports of bid to divert the river Brahmaputra and assured India that Zangmu hydropower station would not have adverse impact on downstream areas. Beijing has shared information with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna this April about the construction activities at Zangmu hydropower station. It was stated that Zangmu is a small project with its main function being generation of power and not water supply, Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent H Pala said in a Rajya Sabha reply. China also mentioned that the power station would not regulate the volume of water and would not have an adverse impact on the downstream areas, Pala said.
However, he added that the Government of India is keeping a constant watch on all developments. Replying to a Rajya Sabha question, Pala said that Government is aware of reports regarding construction of 55 reservoirs on Tibetan rivers in China including Brahmaputra. The Chinese side has categorically denied that it is constructing a dam on the Brahmaputra river for the purpose of water diversion, Pala informed.

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