China’s arms smuggling racket along Bangladesh-Myanmar border unearthed
China has been found to smuggle arms in India’s eastern neighborhood along Bangladesh-Myanmar border, fueling insurgency in the region.
A consignment of Chinese 500 assault rifles, 30 universal machine guns, 70,000 rounds of ammunition and huge cache of grenades have been supplied to the insurgent group ‘Arakan Army’ (AA) fighting Myanmar state.
Similarly, another active insurgent group United Wa State Army (UWSA) has also been found to receive arms from China, persons familiar with the development said.
There are reports that seven insurgent groups in Myanmar are being allegedly funded by China.
The consignment reached AA via beaches of Bangladesh bordering Myanmar. The arms were allegedly dropped at Monakhali beach of Bangladesh.
AA has been allegedly targeting the India backed mega project — Kaladan Multimodal Project — at the behest of China.
Kaladan project passes through the Rakhine state and AA has been targeting the project that can transform the region. The Kaladan project connects Kolkata with Sittwe port in Rakhine state by sea.
In Myanmar, it will then link Sittwe port to Paletwa in Chin state via the Kaladan river boat route, and then from Paletwa by road to Mizoram.
The project will help in integrating economies of eastern Myanmar with India’s north eastern states and is expected create direct and indirect jobs and augment growth opportunities, besides promote smaller traders and enable peace and development of the region, explained persons familiar with the project.
According to the Myanmar army, the military support to AA and UWSA has exposed Chinese duplicity. The top brass of the Myanmar army is upset that Beijing is arming the insurgent groups even while mediating between insurgent groups.
Myanmar Army has also discovered an alleged Sino-Pak axis that is supplying China made arms to AA besides Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
The nexus was revealed a couple of months back following arrests by the authorities of Thailand along the Thai-Myanmar border. The Thai authorities shared details of the investigation with Myanmar’s security establishment.
ARSA has been accused of having connections with foreign terror groups. Abdus Qadoos Burmi, a Pakistani of Rohingya descent based in Karachi who is considered the group’s mentor, has called for “jihad” in Myanmar and has well-documented links to LeT, sources alleged.