During his interrogation, Indian intelligence officials were said to have been shocked at the breadth and complexity of apparent ties revealed between Chinese intelligence and NSCN-IM operatives, in many cases utilizing a vast network of front companies and middlemen in Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, and North Korea. Shimray revealed that he first visited China in 1994 as part of a joint arms deal with the Indian insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
The procurement of the arms and ammunition was made from the Chinese civil-defence company NORINCO (Beifang Gongye), and included 1,800 pieces of arms, AK series rifles, M16 automatic assault rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers. The money is said to have come from a Naga businessman using Calcutta-based operators. In 1996, another purchase of arms and ammunition was reportedly made that involved a shipment from Beijing to the fishing town of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh using a North Korean ship as the transport vehicle. After the shipment was unloaded in small boats on the high seas and transferred in trucks in Bangladesh, it eventually made its way to the NSCM-IM headquarters in India.
One individual in particular—a middleman in Bangkok named Willy Narue—was thought to be a key interlocutor who brokered many of the subsequent arms sales. With Narue’s help, Shimray had reportedly procured arms from the Chinese in late 2007 after it was decided by NSCN-IM leadership in New Delhi to strengthen the weaponry of the organization. Narue facilitated contact between Shimray and an individual by the name of ‘Yuthuna’ in Bangkok, who was a Chinese representative of ‘TCL’—an authorized subsidiary of the Chinese arms company China Xinshidai.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
According to its website, Xinshidai ‘deals in import and export of specialized products produced by China’s defence industries and general civilian products. ’The purchase included 600 AK series rifles, 6 Lakh ammunition rounds, 200 sub-machine guns, pistols, rocket launchers, light machine guns,and 200 kilograms of RDX (an explosive compound used in making bombs). Valued at an estimated $1.2 million, the shipment was to be loaded from a port in Beihei, China, and sent through a shipping agent of Bangkok-based Intermarine Shipping with the final destination of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Correspondence was supposedly facilitated using a single email account whose username and password information was shared among Willy Narue, Naga leadership in New Delhi and Nagaland, and Chinese intelligence operatives.
Even as recently as last September—just weeks before he was arrested—Shimray was said to be procuring arms, and reportedly had held further talks with Willy Narue. One such purchase being negotiated was to be delivered to Arunachal Pradesh. He even asked the suppliers if they could deliver in the ‘upper part of Arunachal from the Chinese side.’ Investigators strongly suspect Shimray’s covert October trip to India may have been tied to the arms deals.