Indian Government Denies Reports From China of Infiltration Attempts
© AP Photo / Anupam NathIndian army soldiers keep watch at the Indo China border in Bumla at an altitude of 15,700 feet (4,700 meters) above sea level in Arunachal Pradesh, India. (File)
© AP Photo / Anupam Nath
The cases of infiltrating Indian territory through neighbouring nations are dealt with by the Border Guarding Forces, which work closely with other government agencies - as well as state governments - to curb these attempts. India shares a border with seven other countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
There has been no infiltration from the border with China in the past three years but there have been 133 attempts from the Myanmar side, the Government of India said on Tuesday.
It was revealed in a statement tabled in parliament by minister of state for home affairs, Nisith Pramanik.
The minister was responding to a question from fellow parliamentarian Chirag Paswan during Question Hour in the present Winter Session of the Indian parliament.
Paswan was trying to establish how many cases of infiltration had been reported by Indian border forces and what steps had been taken by the security agencies to thwart these attempts.
Although Pramanik has denied any infiltration attempts from China, an alleged Chinese village in the India-administered state of Arunachal Pradesh was flagged as an "illegal" construction by the Indian foreign ministry last month. India's hold over Arunachal Pradesh is disputed by China, which claims that the mountainous region is part of its Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
12 November 2021, 07:24 GMT
However, India's top general and chief of defence staff, General Bipin Rawat, said that the Chinese village in question has been built inside Beijing's perceived Line of Actual Control (LAC). The India-China border is not demarcated and both countries have their own idea of what constitutes their respective territories.
Moreover, Indian media reports have indicated that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops are camping inside Indian territory at several locations in the eastern Ladakh region, also located on the Sino-India border. The reported border transgressions in the eastern Ladakh region have yet to be confirmed by the Indian government, which otherwise has blamed Beijing for "trying to alter the status quo unilaterally" and "disturbing" peace in the border areas.
The Asian neighbours have been involved in a tense military standoff in Ladakh since May last year. Despite 13 rounds of talks at military commander level, and several official meetings, the military dispute remains unresolved.
Pramanik also said that 128 cases from Pakistan had been detected in the past three years and 25 similar attempts had been made from Nepal.
According to Indian government records, the maximum infiltration attempts of illegal foreigners into the country took place at the Bangladesh border, with 1,787 such cases reported during the three-year period.
The issue of “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh crossing over into India for better economic opportunities is a political hot potato in the border states.
Many politicians from the federally ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have accused opposition parties of helping Muslims from Bangladesh to infiltrate India so that they have more voters.
However, the opposition Muslim parties retort that the BJP is trying to divide the electorate on Hindu-Islamic lines for political gain.
Infiltration Attempts From Myanmar
Pramanik also said in his written reply on Tuesday that a total of 133 cases of infiltration have been detected from Myanmar over the past three years.
The Indian government claimed in August this year that it had detected more than 8,400 infiltration attempts from its south-east Asian neighbour after the military coup in February this year.
India claimed it sent back more than 5,700 Burmese infiltrators to the authorities, but nearly 2,700 were still reported to be in India.
The Indian Home Ministry said in March this year that it wanted state authorities to deport the Myanmar refugees, most of them belonging to the Chin ethnic group and crossing over into the Indian state of Manipur.
The federal government’s decision back then created resentment among a section of locals in Manipur because of their cultural proximity with the Chins of Myanmar.
Although the federal and state authorities have forbidden refugee camps to be set up, Indian officials told the IANS news agency last week that nearly 13,000 refugees from Myanmar are at present holed up in three Indian border states, including Manipur.
India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and has its own laws to decide whether a foreigner should be treated as a refugee, asylum-seeker or an infiltrator.
India Has Adopted ‘Multi-Pronged’ Approach to Check Infiltration, Says Minister
During his reply, Pramanik also told parliament that the Indian border guards had adopted a “multi-pronged approach” to deal with cross-border infiltration.
He said that as well as carrying out “relentless anti-infiltration operations” at the border, the border agencies have also intensified their surveillance through the use of equipment and vehicles such as the Hand-Held Thermal Imager (HHTI), Night Vision Device (NVD), Twin telescope, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observation System (LORROS), Battle Field Surveillance Radar (BFSR) and Infrared alarm with Command and Control System.