NEW DELHI, Mar 21: The government has noticed “minimal” presence of Maoists in the northeast region, home minister P Chidambaram told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
“In recent months, we have noticed minimal presence of Maoists in North-East,” he said during Question Hour.
So far, no case of Maoists indulging in smuggling of arms from across the border has come to notice, he said adding if Maoists take root in the region, they will soon smuggle arms from Myanmar or Bangladesh.
He said insurgent outfits operating in the North-East have been procuring arms through smugglers based in Yunnan province of China, Myanmar and South East Asian countries.
“Most of the weapons (seized from insurgents) carry Chinese mark,” he said, adding reportedly there are arms bazaars on Myanmar-China border.
The government has raised its concerns with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh through diplomatic channels on the issue of reported smuggling of arms through their territories.
“Cooperation from Bangladesh is splendid,” he said adding there has been significant improvement in response from Myanmar after a new government took over.
Effective domination of the India-Bangladesh and India-Myanmar borders by the security forces and regular patrolling along the border areas are being carried out.
“The erection of fencing and installation of flood lights along Indo-Bangladesh border has helped in controlling the smuggling of arms including other cross-border illegal activities.”
Noting that Indo-Myanmar border is more complex, he said regular patrolling and establishment of mobile vehicle check posts along India-Myanmar border have been put in place to check smuggling of arms.
“In order to prevent smuggling across the Indo-Myanmar border, a memorandum of understanding was signed between India and Myanmar in January, 1994, for maintenance of peace and tranquility in border areas,” he said.
Bilateral talks are held regularly at various fora between India and Myanmar and India and Bangladesh to discuss security related issues, including action to check smuggling of arms and effective guarding of borders, he said.