In the ongoing investigation into gold smuggling by the Nepal Police, concerns have arisen regarding the ease with which many Chinese individuals have acquired Nepali citizenship and passports. Following this revelation, Indian security agencies have expressed suspicion that these Chinese nationals may be engaging in espionage and other unlawful activities, leveraging their Nepalese identity cards within significant Indian cities. Consequently, directives have been issued to closely monitor these suspicious individuals.
India’s external intelligence agency, the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), also known as the Special Bureau, has recently raised concerns by sharing critical intelligence regarding Chinese covert operations within India. This revelation was further corroborated by the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) during a security review meeting. The Free Press Journal (FPJ) has obtained access to the minutes of the meeting, unveiling intricate details of the Chinese operation that has been unsettling Indian authorities, the free press journal reported.
R&AW Orders Surveillance on Nepali Arrivals
R&AW has issued directives to agencies responsible for internal security to maintain close surveillance on Nepali individuals arriving in cities like Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur. This directive comes in response to specific intelligence received from R&AW’s sources in China, which suggests that Chinese agents have devised new strategies to enter India undetected. These agents discreetly adopt new identities by obtaining Nepali passports with the help of private agencies and local Nepalese passport offices. Armed with these covert profiles, they travel from Nepal to India holding Nepali passports. Once they reach cities such as Mumbai or Pune, their intriguing choice is often to settle in Pune and integrate into local communities, including joining ashrams. It is from these locations that they initiate their covert operations against India.
Chinese Infiltrators Leveraging Nepali Passports
According to R&AW, these highly trained Chinese agents have mastered fluency in both Hindi and English. Operating under the guise of Nepali citizens, they are deeply involved in economic warfare and covert operations. The agency emphasizes that their extended stays in India are part of a deliberate strategy. Their fluency in languages and their Nepali identities make it exceedingly challenging to distinguish their true origins—be it Chinese, Nepali, or individuals from the northeastern regions, as they all share similar physical characteristics.
Speaking anonymously, a high-ranking official from R&AW noted that the Chinese intelligence agency operates differently compared to organizations like ISI, CIA, or other global security agencies. The Chinese intelligence service employs a unique approach, utilizing ideologues and journalists, particularly those with a Marxist ideology, for their operations in India. Chinese agents residing in India seem to focus primarily on soft civilian targets, including scientists, policy analysts, personnel from defense and space research and development establishments, journalists, and think tanks.
Economic Warfare and Espionage
Furthermore, these agents, who use ashrams as their cover, engage in economic warfare by infiltrating the Indian market through numerous small-scale industries. They manufacture substandard products at minimal rates, with the intention of gaining a foothold in the Indian economy. Their strategy involves influencing think tanks and policymakers to integrate the Chinese market into the Indian economy. In addition, these agents are involved in social media warfare, collaborating with skilled individuals to counter government policies in recent years.
Shell Companies and Tax Evasion
Chinese agents also pose an economic threat by establishing shell companies, appointing Indian directors, and conducting cash transactions to evade taxes, resulting in significant revenue losses for India. The profits generated are siphoned back to Chinese companies. These companies are challenging to trace, as they leave minimal traces behind.
The contemporary objectives of the Chinese intelligence service in India revolve around gathering intelligence about nuclear weaponization, deployment, and Command, Control, and Communication (C3I) systems. They also target missile developments, deployments, and capabilities, raising significant concerns for Indian security agencies.
As tensions remain high along the China-India border, these covert Chinese operations within India have further complicated the security landscape, calling for increased vigilance and counterintelligence measures to safeguard national interests.