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NE ultras turn to arms supply, drug peddling for sustenance: Lt Gen RP Kalita

Eastern Command Commander of the Indian Army Lt Gen RP Kalita said that 'allegiance to the ULFA-I is nearly zero

Lt Gen Kalita

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  17 May 2022 2:45 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: Eastern Command Commander of the Indian Army Lt Gen RP Kalita said that 'allegiance to the ULFA-I is nearly zero, barring a few who fear the gun culture of the outfit'. He also said that the insurgents in the Northeast turned to drug paddling, arms supply etc., for their sustenance.

Talking to the media today, Lt Gen Kalita said, "The ULFA-I has its presence felt only in a few pockets in Upper Assam. The outfit was on a recruitment drive in the past few days. Apart from Upper Assam, a few youths from Lower Assam also joined the outfit. Most of the recruits have criminal backgrounds. I think the outfit is exploiting social media to motivate a section of youth. I appeal to the youth to look at the positive side to develop society."

On insurgent groups in general, Lt Gen Kalita said, "Most of the groups have changed in the past couple of years. They have lost ideological support from the mass. Whatever support they get now is under their gun culture. The insurgency has subsided in central and lower Assam, leading to development."

The Lt Gen further said, "The insurgents have now turned to arms supply, drug peddling, extortion etc., for their sustenance. They are active mainly in Manipur. Fifty-six per cent of violence in the region took place in Manipur last year. Violence also takes place in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Most of the groups in Nagaland are in ceasefire with the Central Government, barring one."

He said that the Chinese authorities built border villages close to the LAC (Line of Actual Control) that can be used for dual purposes. "We are continuously monitoring the situation. We are also upgrading our infrastructure and capabilities as well as the mechanism to handle the situation. Across the LAC in the Tibet region, a lot of infrastructure development is going on. The other side is constantly upgrading their rail, road and air connectivity so that they are in a better position to respond to any situation or mobilize forces," he said, and added: "The India army is ready with high-level of operational preparedness."

On-road connectivity to the border areas, the Lt General said, "We stressed road connectivity to the interior areas. We have developed connectivity to most of the border areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, barring a few in Eastern Arunachal. We still face problems in the Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim borders. We have roads and airports near the China border also. The biggest challenge before us is the difficult terrains and weather on the northern border to the line of control. Such terrains and weather slow down our connectivity projects. We face patrolling problems where borders without clear-cut border demarcation. We have three designated places as hotlines to respond to any border problems. The situation in Doklam is under control now. We have a few problems left in the eastern borders. Fifteen rounds of talks took place with China. We hope for a solution to these problems."

On the preparations of Eastern Command, he said, "We laid stress on technology and modern weapons. From the logistics point of view, we lay stress on a regular supply of food and clothes to difficult areas. Provision for a longer stay in the event of disturbance is one of our thrust areas on the border. We are 24X7 ready to face any eventuality."

He said that the Army was playing a role fight drug peddling and jihadi elements. The removal of the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 from 23 districts of Assam, four districts of Manipur and three districts of Nagaland would help bring peace and development to the region.

In Paresh Baruah's interviews with the media, the Lt General said that 'in a democracy, everybody has this right. "However, there are many other right paths to convey the message to the audience to resolve issues. He killed a few innocent people on the charge of spying for the Assam Police and the army. Does he have any proof?"

Also Read: Lieutenant General RP Kalita visits Sikkim; takes stock of the prevailing situation along the border

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