New Delhi: Former Indian Army chief, retired General M.M. Naravane has said that foreign interference in the Manipur violence cannot be ruled out and is “definitely there,” stressing that alleged Chinese aid to various insurgent groups has been continuing for many years.
Speaking at the 12th lecture of the India International Centre and Press Club of India Conversations series, Gen. Naravane also spoke on the dangers of a “two-front war,” heavily advocating for diplomacy to resolve conflicts for India, which faces a “two-front threat” from Pakistan and China.
At the lecture, Gen. Naravane was asked by multiple journalists about the situation in Manipur and whether it amounted to a national security threat.
“Coming on to Manipur, I had said right in the beginning that internal security is very important and if there is instability not only in our neighbouring country but in our border state then that instability is bad for overall national security,” the retired general said.
He added that decision makers on the ground would know best.
“I’m sure that those who are in the chair, I mean responsible for taking whatever actions are due to be taken are doing their best and we should avoid trying to second guess them…the person on ground knows best what is to be done. But definitely, instability does not help us in the overall national security concept,” he said.
He then added that the involvement of foreign forces cannot be ruled out at all.
“The involvement of foreign agencies…not only do I say it cannot be ruled out but I will say it is definitely there, especially Chinese aid to the various insurgent groups. They have been helping them for so many years so they will continue helping [them],” he added.
Earlier in July, Manipur’s chief minister N. Biren Singh had appeared to hint at foreign hands in the ethnic violence that has roiled the state for three months now. Over 150 people have been killed, several are missing, tens of thousands are displaced and horrific crimes against women are being reported.
Gen. Naravane also said that it is necessary to distinguish between the “two front threat” and a “two front war”.
“What we have is a two front threat, but do we want to fight a two front war? No. And if you go back in history nobody who has fought a two-front war has ever won. Go back as much as you want. And that is why diplomacy will play a very major role in ensuring that one of the fronts is kept quiet,” he added.