Northeast Insurgents In Peace Talks, China Can't Stir Trouble: Centre

Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said the government is in peace negotiations with almost all insurgent groups in the north-east

Northeast Insurgents In Peace Talks, China Can't Stir Trouble: Centre

Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said talks with NSCN-IM are in advance stage

New Delhi:

Amid the standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the centre on Friday ruled out any attempt by the neighbouring country to brew trouble in the north-east region through insurgent groups operating there.

Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said the government is in peace negotiations with almost all insurgent groups in the north-east, including the ULFA. He said other insurgent groups that could be potentially used by China to create trouble are in fact participating in peace negotiations.

Mr Bhalla said talks with the Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM are in advance stage and there is no trouble at the moment.

"They could be potential but not that much. These people (insurgents) have lost that kind of massive support. The leadership of ULFA is back in Assam and talking to the government. The NSCN people, after the ceasefire, are sitting in Delhi and talking to us for the final settlement. We don't see that kind of major disruptions coming," Mr Bhalla said at a diamond jubilee webinar organised by the National Defence College Union.

The Home Secretary, to a question on whether India foresees China creating trouble in the north-east after the border row in eastern Ladakh, said the situation in the north-east is "well under control" and the government is helping the state governments in dealing with insurgent groups.

Twenty soldiers gave their lives for India in a violent faceoff with Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in June; over 40 Chinese soldiers were also killed or injured.

"The government is providing assistance to the states to deal with insurgent groups and also carrying out negotiations with insurgent groups. There has been a settlement with the Bodos after a long struggle, talks are in an advanced stage with the NSCN to resolve the Naga issue," Mr Bhalla said.

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He said there is no insurgency in Tripura now, The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is in force partially in Nagaland, Manipur and Assam and due to the improved security situation, it has been removed from Meghalaya and in Arunachal Pradesh, only a few districts are under this law, Mr Bhalla said.

"It is a very positive development for the north-eastern part of the country. Various groups are talking to the government. The government is pursuing the policy of talks them. There has been substantial improvement in the security situation in the north-east in the last six years. In 2019, the region saw the lowest insurgency-related violence and casualties in terms of civilians and security forces personnel," Mr Bhalla said.

The Home Secretary said the Home Ministry has implemented a "one border, one force" policy and deployed Border Security Force (BSF) personnel along the border with Pakistan and Bangladesh, the ITBP along the China border, the SSB along the Nepal and Bhutan borders and the Assam Rifles along Myanmar border.

"That's how we have divided our border-guarding forces. To that extent we have implemented… Of course there are various issues along the Pakistan border like terror activities... But there is coordination with the Army," he said.

Mr Bhalla said cyber security and narcotics were areas of concern for which there is a need to remain "alert now". He said the recently held elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, in which 65 per cent population took part, was a major step towards initiating the development process.