Although Beijing’s support for rebels in India’s northeast has often been suspected, a top Naga rebel leader has finally come out to confirm the Chinese connection.
Kughalu Mulatonu, a leader of the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, said the Chinese found their way to rebel camps in Eastern Nagaland via New Delhi.
The Nagas refer to Sagaing division of Myanmar as Eastern Nagaland.
The revelation comes barely two months after the arrest of a Chinese spy, Guang Liang, near Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh. The man claimed he was from Henan province of central China.
This division adjoining Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland is dominated by at least six Naga tribes and is easier to access from India.
Mulatonu said from a rebel camp near Dimapur in Nagaland: “Yes, they (the Chinese) openly and legally come to India via Delhi and meet us.”
The Khaplang faction, led by S.S. Khaplang, a Myanmar-based Hemi Naga, lords over most of the 30 north-east rebel camps in Sagaing division.
“The government of India gets to know of such meetings well before they are held. The last of such meetings was in 2009,” Mulatonu said. He, however, declined to divulge what usually gets discussed at these meetings.
Security agencies, however, are certain why the Chinese often get in touch with NSCN-K leaders, its rival Isaak-Muivah faction and other northeast rebel groups camped in Sagaing Division.
“In all probability, the Chinese people visit the rebel camps to strike deals for small arms,” a Nagaland-based intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity.