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Siliguri corridor 'vulnerable', warns security expert

Sunday, 22 July 2007 - 12:57pm IST | Agency: PTI

An analyst has said vulnerability of the Siliguri corridor could be exploited by "inimical regional powers" to cut it off from the rest of the nation.

NEW DELHI: Warning that the threat to India's security in the North-East was "most difficult" to handle, a security analyst has said vulnerability of the Siliguri corridor could be exploited by "inimical regional powers" to cut off the region from the rest of the country.
Maintaining that the 10-20 km wide and 200 km long\ corridor had been facing turmoil for many years, the expert said "the area may well be further subverted by inimical
regional powers. Chinese intention to bargain for Tawang to secure Tibet is deceptive."
In an editorial in the latest issue of Indian Defence Review, its editor Bharat Verma said "if this critical corridor is choked or subverted or severed by force, the Union of India will have to maintain the North-East by air."
He said the "poor" quality of governance could lead the local populace to gravitate towards other regional powers.     

Observing that vote bank politics had led to illegal migration from Bangladesh in the past two decades, he said many border districts now have a majority population
constituting illegal migrants from the neighbouring nation.
"In the near future, this leverage will be used to create an internal upheaval against the Centre as in the case of the (Kashmir) Valley," Verma warned.
He said this would be a classic case of "asymmetric warfare" launched by Islamic fundamentalists. "What cannot be achieved by conventional wars, can be done through
infiltration and subsequently internal subversion. They call it jehad." 
The editor of the premier defence journal said the North-East -- with the internal turmoil in the Siliguri corridor, the low population surrounded by an overpopulated
Bangladesh exporting Islamic terrorism under the tutelage of Islamabad, growing Chinese influence in Nepal and Bangladesh and Beijing upping its ante on Tawang -- "the danger to the region is grave."
He claimed that New Delhi continued to "fiddle while the Northeast burns" posing a grave problem to the territorial integrity of the Indian Union.
On the threat of Maoists, Verma said 40 per cent of India's territory was affected by the menace. "There are also reports to suggest that Indian Maoists are increasingly taking to opium cultivation in areas under their control to finance their activities. The Maoists-crime-drug nexus is rather explosive."
He also maintained that Pakistan was using Islamic terrorism in large parts of the country with Kashmir as a gateway or launching pad for the rest of India.

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