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Current Bangladesh Time: 6:58:29 PM (Sat)

Crisis in South Asia and rise of Islamist-leftist militancy

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Myanmar issue: According to Dhaka’s leading vernacular daily Amader Shomoy [dated October 1, 2009], Myanmar is almost set to test it’s first nuclear bomb very soon.

Amader Shomoy said, Myanmar is producing Plutonium through its 10 Uranium mines, 2 Uranium refineries and 2 Nuclear Reactors. Yangoon maintains close ties with Beijing for decades, and if there is any conflict between Dhaka and Yangoon, mostly on the issue related to Rohingya [The Rohingya is a Muslim ethnic group of the Northern Arakan State of Western Myanmar. Thousands of Rohingyas were pushed inside Bangladesh by the regime in Yangoon] refugees and territorial boundary of Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal, experts are fearing that, Yangoon will start war against Dhaka and in that case, their closest ally will be Beijing.

Meanwhile, Head of the Public Administration Department of Dhaka University and eminent scholar Professor Dr. Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah in an interview to local press said, if there is any conflict between Bangladesh and Myanmar on issue related to lifting oil from the sea bed, Yangoon will instantly attack and capture Bangladeshi’s island named St. Martin.

He said, Myanmar has already increased its military strength to attack and capture Chittagong and adjacent areas in Bangladesh as well attack Dhaka.

Myanmar government is continuing anti-Bangladesh campaign through state run newspaper named The Myanmar Times for months. While Myanmar is continuing massive media offensives against Bangladesh as well strengthening its military capability, Dhaka is simply sitting silent in at least confronting anti-Bangladesh propaganda of Myanmar.

India-China tension:

According to another report, India is continuing to intensify its millitary presence along China border, which is seen by experts as an indication of ‘war preparation’ at any time. Experts are predicting that India is trying to give a strong signal to Beijing that, any Chinese instigation to Myanmar or maoists in Nepal, may ultimately put Beijing into deep crisis by beginning war with India. It may be mentioned here that both nations have nuclear weapons, and there is potential fear of usage of nuclear bomb, especially by China in case of any war between Beijing and Delhi. In that case, the entire South Asian region in particular and the world in general shall be in deep crisis.

A significant number of NATO allies view China as an emerging Red Threat while the Indian intelligence believes China is trying desperately to severe India's North Eastern regions from the mainland by helping various radical left groups and other secessionist forces. It is even reported that, China is also secretly funding anti-Indian Islamist terror outfits to destabilize territorial integrity of India.

Indian intelligence reports claim Beijing is training and financing the People Liberation Army [PLA] of Manipur, the ULFA [United Liberation Front of Assam] separatists of Assam, Kachin rebels of Myanmar, and a host of other Naga and Mizo separatist outfits. All these groups operate along our own borders.

In recent months, the Arunachal Pradesh [a state in India, which is located along India-China border] dispute has become China's most intractable border issue with India, prompting many experts to fear that it could trigger an armed conflict sooner.

In 1962, the two Asian powers went to war over disputed 3,500 kilo meter border, which ended in China occupying much of the Himalayan high ground which Delhi traditionally considered as strategic buffer against invasion from the north. Delhi is now determined to turn the tide in its favour, with NATO backing.

Besides, Delhi is playing hard ball with Beijing using the Tibetan exiled leader Dalai Lama as a potent political card. That is why, in the midst of such an explosive situation, Dalai Lama is being sent in early November to the Tawang Buddhist temple located in the disputed territory of Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by China to have been illegally occupied by India. Chinese reaction to the visit of Dalai Lama was very terse. When asked about the visit, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said, 'China expresses strong concern about this information. The visit further reveals the Dalai clique's anti-China and separatist essence.'

Exiled in India since 1959, Dalai Lama said in 2008, "I believe Arunachal Pradesh is Indian territory."

Although India had stopped the Dalai Lama from visiting Tawang a number of times in the past, the official patronage from Delhi to the upcoming visit is viewed by experts as a move to put strong pressure on Beijing.

Economically, the latest building of tension between India and China has put in jeopardy the booming economic interactions between the two Asian giants and poses a grave threat to the economic growth of the entire region. Since the mid-1990s, China became India's biggest trading partner, the value of bilateral deals reaching $60 billion by now, a 30-time-fold increase since 2000.

Combating Marxists in India:

According to BBC report on 27 September 2009, New Delhi has extended total support to the states in its final assault against the red rebels. About 20,000 troops are being sent to Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand to join 35,000 already deployed there ahead of the drive in early October to eliminate the Maoists.

Failing to contain the Maoists who are growing in strength and influence in about 200 districts of central and northeast India, Dr. Manmohan Singh [Indian Prime Minister] has been cautioning the nation that the rebels have posed the 'gravest threat' to the internal security of the country. Explaining the reasons for failure so far of anti-Maoist drives, officials said police force is averse to fight the dreaded rebels who are armed with better and sophisticated weapons.

Another major problem the government is facing while dealing with the left-wing radicalism is the tacit support from the pro-Chinese elements claiming to be civil society and some Beijing funded NGOs. In most of the troubled areas, locals have formed committee styled as “Committee to Resist Police Atrocities”. These are helping the Maoists.

Maoists claim they are fighting for the rights of tribal, dalits and minorities who are deprived by New Delhi for decades. They also aim at establishing communist rule in India. Statistics show that about 77 percent Indians live on an average income of 25 cents a day although the country is acclaimed for achieving 7-8 percent GDP growth. Suicide rate is the highest in the world among the debt ridden poor farmers. The situation is acute in 2009 because of prolonged drought in some of the states and slim prospect of a good harvest of food grains.

Indian minister of ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. P Chidambaram visited Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand on September 25, 2009 said, "Maoists have posed the gravest challenge to our way of life, our public, our democracy."

Defence analysts have been suggesting for immediate and strong action to curb the Maoist movement within India before they expand influence. The rise of Maoists in neighbouring Nepal who are poised to regain power and covert design of China to support insurgency in India for disintegration of the country have no doubt worried the Indian leadership.

There is anticipation that Delhi is going to use the Air Force to combat the Maoists within India. Home Minister P Chidamabaram has drawn a plan for 'final assault' on the red rebels with proposal to use the air power. The planned drive is to begin from two central states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the epicentre of the Maoists. Senior officials of the Home Ministry said the plan is being discussed in an appropriate committee where the minister's say will carry major weight.

Rise of Islamist militancy:

For past few weeks, Bangladeshi intelligence agencies and law enforcing agencies, during their special offensives on Islamist millitants have successfully arrested a number of fleeing members of notorious terror groups, who were hidding in the country and giving various types of Jihadist orientation and combat trainings to Bangladeshis, especially in madrassas.

So far, Bangladeshi police has arrested Islamist militancy group Lashkar-e-Tayeba leader Moulana Obaidullah, Mufti Moulana Mansur Ali alias Habibullah and Emdadullah.

According to a senior official of Bangladeshi intelligence agency, a large number of Islamist terrorists are hidding in the country for years.

Latest arrest of Islamist terrorist named Mahbub [28] took place on October 1, 2009 in Bangladesh. Mahbub is an active member of Pakistan based Harkat-ul-Jihadia-Islamia-Azizia and Lashkar-e-Tayeba.

He was also working as a commandar of Asif Reza Force, another Islamist terror outfit based in India, and was assigned to carryout various types of offensives within Bangladesh.

For several months, another notorious Islamist terror outfit in Bangladesh named Hizbut Towhid has started open activities of spreading religious hatred amongst people by publishing anti-Christian and anti-Jew books and CDs, where clear instigations of starting war against Christians and Jews are given.
Bangladeshi intelligence and law enforcing agencies are silent on taking any action against such open activities of Hizbut Towhid for reason unknown. There are even indications that some influential members of the ruling party are giving patronization, support and protection to this Islamist militancy group.