Saturday, April 9, 2011

Indian Insurgent Groups Purchase Arms From China Through Illegal Channels

The insurgent groups in the northeast Indian states are purchasing military weapons from China through illegal channels. The evidence has been found for the first time in the investigation into a lawsuit in India. Recently, evidences and information to this effect were submitted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to a court in New Delhi.

Consignment of Arms The charge-sheet said that the Naga insurgent group -- the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) -- in its last attempt took a plan to import such a consignment of arms from China and unload the same at Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh in 2010. But the insurgent group cancelled its plan as the Bangladesh Government adopted a hard-line in this regard. This information was divulged during interrogation by the NIA of NSCN-IM leader Anthony Shimrey, principal initiator of procuring the arms consignment, following his arrest.

In addition, the name of Anthony Shimrey also surfaced in the 10-truck arms haul in Chittagong in 2004. At that time, leading UK-based defense journal the Jeans Intelligence Review, in a report in its 1 August 2004 issue, said that the insurgent group of Assam state -- United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) -- procured 10-truck arms through Anthony Shimrey. Even Shimrey was also staying in Chittagong with ULFA military wing chief Paresh Barua during the unloading of the arms in 2004.

The NSCN-IM principal arms collector Anthony Shimrey was arrested at the Katmandu Airport, Nepal in 2010 and subsequently taken to India. But the Indian authorities showed him arrested in their country.

The NIA source said, during the interrogation, Anthony Shimrey disclosed the names of different individuals and Chinese companies involved with supplying arms to the Indian insurgents. After six-month investigation into the matter, the NIA submitted the charge-sheet to a court in New Delhi against Anthony Shimrey and his three associates. The three persons are NSCN-IM leaders T.R. Cavlin, and Hangshi Ramsen Tongkhul, and Bangkok-based arms trader Willie Naruwanarthwanich. The New Delhi court has issued warrant of arrest against these three persons.

The charge-sheet stated that the investigating officer had gleaned sufficient information and proofs that the insurgent groups like the NSCN-IM had entered into agreements with some Chinese companies to buy sophisticated arms and ammunition. The investigators produced as evidence a detailed story of monetary transaction and transportations of arms and ammunition. The NAI also submitted the record of conversations of the three accused.

Close Relationship The charge-sheet said that Willie was involved with arms trading under the coverage of spa business in Bangkok. Shimrey contacted with him through a mediator. Shimrey told the investigators that he had informed Willie that his group was in need of 1,000 firearms, including AK-47 rifles, light machine guns, rocket launchers, and 50,000 pieces of ammunition. In 2007, Willie introduced Shimrey to a Chinese company named TCL. Subsequently he developed a very close relationship with Uthnar, representative of the company. Primarily a decision was taken to sell arms to the tune of $2 million. But by consulting New Delhi NSCN leaders the company agreed to supply arms and ammunition worth $1million.

Anthony Shimrey collected the list of the arms that the group leaders agreed to purchase from Dimapur-based NSCN-IM leader Cavlin in Nagaland through e-mail. It was decided that the arms and ammunition will be loaded in a ship from the south China port of Beihei, adjacent to Vietnam. The consignment will be taken the deep of Cox's Bazaar. From there the insurgents will take the arms and ammunition to their hideouts through small fishing trawlers.

The charge-sheet said that Shimrey reached $100,000 in advance as price of the arms and ammunition to the TCL through Willie in May 2009. On receipt of that payment the, TCL sent an e-mail acknowledgement to Shimrey. After that Shimrey received $800,000 from the NSCN-IM's Bangkok office. From that amount he sent $700,000 to the TCL through Willie. The rest $100,000 was given to Kittichai, agent of Intermarine Shipping Company in Bangkok, for transportation of the arms and ammunition.

Unloading Arms Consignment The NIA said in 2010 that Shimrey could realize that the situation in Bangladesh was not in favor of NSCN-IM. And as a result, the plan for unloading the arms consignment at Cox's Bazaar was cancelled. Shimrey took a plan to visit New Delhi to discuss the issue with senior leaders of the group. But he was arrested at the Katmandu Airport, Nepal in October 2010 when he was traveling with fake a passport.

The charge-sheet submitted with the New Delhi court said that from 1991 to 1999 the NSCN-IM had contact with another Chinese arms company.

It may be mentioned here that the investigation agency, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in its report submitted to a Chittgong court, said the 10-truck arms consignment that hauled in Chittagong was also purchased from Norinko.

It has been learned that the Indian Government and NSCN-IM signed a cease-fire deal in 1997. Peace negotiation with the Nagaland insurgent is still going on. Despite that the group has been continuing its drives for collection of arms and ammunition.


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