China, Pak agents of illegal immigration in Northeast: Army Chief
New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that Pakistan and China are behind illegal immigration in the Northeast.
He made this statement while addressing the ‘North East Region of India Bridging Gaps and Securing Borders Summit,’ in New Delhi .
“Migration from Bangladesh is due to two reasons. One, they are running out of space. Large areas get flooded during the monsoon and they have constricted area sto stay. So, people will continue coming into our place,” the Army chief said.
He added, “The other issue is a planned immigration that is taking place because of our western neighbour (Pakistan). They will always try and ensure that this area is taken over through proxy warfare. This proxy game is being played very well by our western neighbour and supported by our northern neighbour (China).
He said we need to understand the problem in the Northeast.
“Is it identity problem? Is it a problem of development? Is it a problem of security? Or, is it a problem with the demography that is happening right now? I think it is all-encompassing and we will have to look at it holistically,” the Army chief said.
He also said that the Centre is seriously contemplating to address issues in the Northeast with its Act East Policy and looking at development from Central perspective.
“Development is the main issue and identifying the population of this area (Northeast) with the population of mainland becomes important. The Centre is looking at Northeast with right perspective and time will not be far when we will be able to amalgamate this region and with development will take control of people of this region,” said the Army chief.
Maintaining that it was difficult to change the population dynamics of the Northeast, General Rawat said, “There is a party called AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front). They have grown in a faster time-frame than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). When we talk of Jan Sangh with two MPs and where they have reached, AIUDF is moving at a faster pace in the state of Assam.”
The AIUDF is a political party active in the Indian state of Assam. It is the champion of Muslims in Assam.
The Army chief said, “We have to live with the people of the region, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or sex. If we understand that then we will be able to live together happily. We will have more trouble in segregating people.”
Talking about Arunachal Pradesh, he said, “Arunachalis speak pure Hindi so amalgamating them with us is not a problem.”
China claims parts of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.
Meanwhile Army on Thursday defended its chief Bipin Rawat’s comments about the rise of a political party in the Northeast on the back of Muslim support, saying there was “nothing political or religious in the talk”.
The response comes after Badruddin Ajmal, president of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) questioned if the Army chief was “indulging in politics” which is against the constitutional mandate given to him.
“Gen Bipin Rawat has made a political statement, shocking! Why is it a concern for the Army Chief that a political party, based on democratic & secular values, is rising faster than BJP? Alternative parties like AIUDF, AAP have grown because of the misgovernance of big parties,” Ajmal tweeted.
Reacting to the Army statement, Ajmal tweeted: “If nothing political, why was Army Chief dragging a political party, in his speech, whose representatives are democratically elected by Indian citizens?”
Speaking at a conference on the Northeast in the Capital on Wednesday, Rawat said: “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 did not name Pakistan or China, instead using “western neighbour” and “northern neighbour” to refer to them.