National News

Army chief says Assam’s AIUDF has grown at a faster pace than the BJP

Bipin Rawat made the remark while talking about the influx of migrants from Bangladesh into northeast India.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said that the Assam-based party All India United Democratic Front had “grown faster” than the Bharatiya Janata Party did over the years. Rawat made the remark while talking about the influx of migrants from Bangladesh into northeast India.

The All India United Democratic Front was launched in 2005 by Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and has been gaining ground in Assam’s Muslim-dominated constituencies. It now has three MPs in the Lok Sabha and 13 MLAs in the Assam Assembly.

“I do not think you can now change the population dynamics of the area,” Rawat said. “If it was five [Muslim-majority] districts [earlier] to eight to nine [today], inversion has taken place...There is a party called AIUDF, they have grown in a faster timeframe than the BJP grew over the years. Jan Sangh [the BJP’s predecessor] had two MPs [in its first few years] and...where they have reached. AIUDF is growing at a faster pace in the state of Assam.”

Rawat alleged that the migration from Bangladesh was a “planned proxy warfare” by Pakistan, with China’s support, to keep the region disturbed. “They will always try and ensure that this area is taken over, playing the proxy dimension of warfare,” Rawat said. India will continue to see such migration, as “the proxy game is very well played by our western neighbour, supported by our northern neighbour”, he said at a conference on security in the Northeast.

He said the solution now lies in ensuring holistic development. People in the region should be “amalgamated” and then the trouble-makers must be identified, he said, adding that shrinking land space in Bangladesh is also leading to migration.

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‘China wanted to split India, Bhutan through Doklam’

At the same event, former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon claimed China wanted to “split” India from Bhutan through the Doklam standoff. China wanted to “show the Bhutanese that India could not defend their security and also to arouse Bhutanese opinion”, he said.

The Doklam plateau, near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, was the site of a 74-day-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops from June to August 2017. Both Thimphu and Beijing claim it as their territory. India, which supports Bhutan’s claim, claimed to have stepped in to stop China from building a road there.

“One reason we saw that activity in Doklam last year was not because China had a clear military option or superiority, but they had the political goal of splitting us from the Bhutanese,” he said. “I am glad we chose to react the way we did.”

Menon was the NSA between 2010 and 2014.

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