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Pakistan aiding, China backing influx in Northeast, says army chief Bipin Rawat

Bipin Rawat says Pakistan is playing the proxy dimension of warfare where they do not have to confront a stronger nation through conventional operations.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2018 12:23 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Bangladesh,Bipin Rawat,Bangladeshi influx
Army Chief Bipin Rawat said the solution to the problem lies in ensuring development of the region by taking a holistic approach.(PTI File Photo)

Army chief Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday that Pakistan, with support from China, is pushing illegal migrants from Bangladesh into India’s northeastern states, where the “population dynamics can no longer be changed”.

Rawat did not elaborate on what he meant by population dynamics but referred to the party All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which is accused by its political opponents of pandering to illegal immigrants.

“They (Pakistan) will always try and ensure that this area is taken over… playing the proxy dimension of warfare where they do not have to confront a stronger nation through conventional operations,” he said, adding: “This proxy game is being well played by our western neighbour and supported also by the northern neighbour.”

General Rawat did not name Pakistan or China, instead using “western neighbour” and “northern neighbour” to refer to them.

He was speaking at a conference on the Northeast in the Capital.

He said India needed to identify problems in the northeast and address them holistically, with a focus on development and on ways to integrate the region with the rest of the country.

“I think the government is looking at the Northeast with correct perspective...With development will come control of the people residing in this area. I don’t think now you can change the population dynamics of this region... there is a party called AIUDF. It has grown at a faster rate than the BJP has over the years... AIUDF is moving at a faster pace in the state of Assam.”

His concerns on population come at a time when attempts are being made to publish the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam that would identify illegal migrants.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected petitions seeking extension of the deadline for its publication from May 31 to July 31.

In November 2016, junior home minister Kiren Rijiju told Parliament that government estimates put the number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants staying in India at “around 20 million”.

He did not specify the states in which they may be in.

“We have to keep our eyes and ears open and keep a watch on this area called the northeast,” army chief Rawat said. He said the government’s Act East policy would help address the issues in the region.

Taking to reporters, Rawat said the situation is Doklam was “absolutely fine” and there was no reason to worry. India and China were locked in the 73-day Doklam standoff near the Sikkim border last year.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 23:40 IST