The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), has been accumulating a huge stockpile of sophisticated weapons as well as building their cadre strength since 1997 when the peace process started, intelligence sources have told HT."In the last 13 years, NSCN-(IM) have more than trebled their weapon and cadre strength. It is the only Northeast insurgent outfit with more weapons than cadres," the official said.
The present strength is believed to be at least 5,000.
The assertion is significant in the backdrop of the arrest and questioning of Anthony Shimray, head of NSCN-(IM)'s Alee company or the foreign affairs cell. The government says Shimray was in Kathmandu shopping for arms.
Shimray, 49, now in the NIA's custody, is believed to have been arrested in Kathmandu airport on September 27 while purportedly on his way to New Delhi to participate in the ongoing talks. The government's version is that he was 'picked up' from the India-Nepal border.
With the ongoing Chinese army's modernisation, a lot of discarded weapons are being stored in Shenyang, capital of the Liaoning Province.
Intelligence sources say Chinese-origin weapons are being bought by Northeast-based insurgent groups in large numbers and are mainly sourced by the China Northern Industrial Corporation (also known as Norinco).
"Another Bangkok-based representative of a white goods company is also involved," the source added.
"These companies sell arms only to sovereign nations and ask for an end-user certificate, which is furnished under the name of the Government of the People's Republic of Nagaland, the outfit's government-in-exile," the official said.
Declining comment on the arms stockpiling, VS Atem, NSCN (IM) spokesperson told HT : "There is no doubt that the Naga movement being a peoples' movement has grown."