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Notwithstanding the traditional bonhomie between India and Bhutan that is well expected to receive a boost with Modi’s Bhutan visit, the Himalayan kingdom had close ties with Northeast insurgent organizations like the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) that had set up huge training camps in south Bhutan in the 90s.
Throwing new light into this relationship is a yet-to-be published book ‘Rendezvous with Rebels’ by journalist Rajiv Bhattacharyya.
“At a meeting with ULFA representatives in 2001, he (Bhutan king) offered to give Rs. 200 crore to the outfit and assistance in transferring all the cadres to Myanmar,” write Bhattacharyya.
At that time, India had stepped up pressure on Bhutan to chase out the insurgents.
Said RN Ravi, an expert on Northeast insurgency and former special director, Intelligence Bureau: “Bhutan did not have much choice but to cooperate with the insurgents.”
Bhattacharyya’s book talks about another episode in the where the government helped the ULFA transfer weapons.
“The plan was to drop the shipment at a convenient location. It appeared that the weapons would soon get buried in the snow. But a clever strategy was devised a few months later. Weapons in large quantities were soon dropped in the camps one night by Bhutanese army trucks!”