Leadership: Chinese Home Delivery

Archives

October 4, 2011: Last month, India signed another agreement with separatist group ULFA. Both India and ULFA agreed to work out a mutually satisfactory peace deal. This was done despite reports that, last May, Chinese smugglers had delivered $2.5 million worth of weapons to ULFA, shipped straight from Chinese factories. This sort of deal needed, at the very least, the assent of the Chinese government. India suspects that China is encouraging these kinds of sales, as greater unrest in northeast India, where ULFA is based, suits China just fine.

India has been fighting separatist tribal rebels in the northeast for decades. Over the last decade, India seemed to be winning. India's long term strategy against tribal separatist rebels in the northeast (Assam) appeared to be paying off. Four years ago, one of the more prominent rebel groups, the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) seemed to be falling apart. Back then, ULFA was losing over a thousand members a year (surrendered, accepted amnesty, killed or captured). Many more simply quit. Several leaders also surrendered or were arrested. The key to this success was a campaign, begun a decade ago, to shut down ULFA sanctuaries in neighboring countries. In 2003, Bhutan cooperated, and ran the ULFA out. Then India made deals with Bangladesh and Myanmar to shut down ULFA camps there. Inside India, life was much more dangerous for ULFA fighters, and getting chased around by soldiers and police got old real fast.

All this happened at the time that many of the rebels were getting tired of their seemingly futile effort to achieve independence, or at least a lot of autonomy, for the tribes in the northeast. The fatigue was enhanced by the fact that many resistance group senior leaders were living in exile. After twenty years of struggle, these leaders had lost touch with the people they purport to represent. Moreover, ULFA was founded by men who believed communism was the future. The collapse of the Soviet Union, and evaporation of communist rule in so many nations, has made it difficult to keep believing.

Like many rebel organizations, the ULFA has largely turned into a criminal gang just to survive. But that's a hard life without sanctuaries across the border. The ULFA did not just fade away. Part of it survived and became a continuing irritant. That, plus growing success with criminal enterprises, help from China and new foreign base areas, kept the ULFA in the game.

 

 


Article Archive

Leadership: Current 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close