Indian officials say China is assisting rebel groups that have stepped up attacks on its border with Myanmar in recent months, opening another front in the conflict between two nations already engaged in a deadly standoff in the Himalayas, the Economic Times reported.
Armed groups in Myanmar — including the United Wa State Army and the Arakan Army, which was designated a terrorist organization this year — are acting as Beijing’s proxies by supplying weapons and providing hideouts to insurgent groups in India’s northeastern states, according to Indian officials with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified due to rules for speaking with the media.
The officials said multiple security agencies warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that at least four of India’s most wanted insurgent leaders were in the southern Chinese city of Kunming to train and source weapons as recently as mid-October.
The group — including three ethnic Naga rebels fighting for a separate homeland in an area straddling the India-Myanmar border — met with acting and retired Chinese military officials as well as other middlemen who make up an informal network, Indian officials said.
The increased activity along the Myanmar border has sparked concern in New Delhi that India’s military is becoming stretched as tensions remain with China and Pakistan on other parts of its land border, which runs for roughly 14,000 kilometers (8,700 miles).
The officials said India moved several battalions consisting of about 1,000 troops each into the Myanmar border area after a soldier was killed in an ambush on Oct. 21.