A rebel government-in-exile at Myanmar in the offing with Chinese support
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 23: Taking a step further to form a government-in-exile, as many as nine Northeast militant outfits, including the ULFA(I), NDFB(S) and NSCN(K) have formed a joint front. This is likely a precursor to an eventual government-in-exile, with Indian security agencies suspecting Chinese hand behind the move.
At least three rounds of meetings were held among representatives of the outfits at undisclosed locations in Sagaing division of Myanmar over the last one month, after which the joint front christened as the United tiol Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFW) was floated, informed sources said. Indian intelligence agencies have also corroborated the report.
SS Khaplang, chairman of the NSCN(K), has been selected as the chief of the united front.
There were conflicting reports as to the status of Paresh Barua. Some sources said he has been selected as the commander-in-chief. Other reports said he is the vice-chairman. The present UNLF chief is also in an important position on the front.
Besides the three outfits, Manipur’s CorCom – an umbrella of six outfits – is also a part of the joint front.
CorCom is an umbrella group in Manipur that includes the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), Kanglei Yawol Kan Lup (KYKL) and People’s Revolutiory Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK).
The sources said that the move to form the joint front is a step further towards forming a government-in-exile, reportedly to be based in Myanmar. A committee has been also formed to draft the constitution of the joint front.
“The outfits, especially NSCN(K) is close to Kachin rebels – including Kachin Independence Army - who provide various logistics and weapons support,” said an Intelligence Bureau official. “It is difficult to believe that there is no Chinese backing,” he said.
The Khaplang faction of the tiol Socialist Council of galand (NSCN) has already split, with SS Khaplang, also known as Baba, refusing to extend the ceasefire agreement which expires on April 27 next.
Khaplang has expelled his senior minister (kilonser) Wangtin Konyak and his persol secretary as well as the spokesperson for the outfit, T Tikhak, for their alleged “anti-ga tiolism”. The expelled militants have floated another faction called the NSCN (Reformist) with whom the Indian government is likely to sign a truce pact. The NSCN(K) had signed a truce in 2001 but talks had not yet begun.
The move to form a joint front by the NE rebel groups has been in the offing since 2011.
Indian intelligence quarters suspect that this move by NE rebel outfits has Chinese tacit support, with Beijing upping the pressure on Delhi to gain an upper hand on the border issue. It may also be the Red Dragon’s way of getting even with India for hosting the Tibetan government-in-exile on its soil. Dalai Lama, who formed the Tibetan government-in-exile in 1959 at Dharamshala in Himachal, is referred to as an insurgent by Beijing.