New Delhi, Jan. 24: India picked up a Chinese woman suspected to be operating as a spy in the guise of a TV reporter but quietly deported her on Friday in a reflection of New Delhis eagerness not to precipitate matters with its testy neighbour.
The 39-year-old woman, identified as Wang Qing, had posed as a TV reporter to meet Naga militant leader Thuingaleng Muivah in a government guesthouse in Delhi, sources told The Telegraph.
On Saturday, the foreign ministry conveyed its displeasure to Beijing.
The sources claimed that the alleged spy had revealed during interrogation that she was associated with the Chinese intelligence agency Peoples Security Bureau and that this was her third trip to India.
In August last year, she had apparently touched down in Calcutta from Kunming in Chinas Yunnan province and travelled to Nagaland.
This time, Wang had arrived in New Delhi on January 1 on a tourist visa posing as an employee of a Chinese timber company. She then allegedly masqueraded as a Naga student, Imela, while travelling illegally to Nagaland on January 16.
She was detained on January 18 in Dimapur after reportedly visiting the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) military headquarters at Camp Hebron, 30km away.
Earlier, on January 4, the Yunnan-born Wang had introduced herself as a reporter from the Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV and met Muivah, whose outfit is in peace talks with the Centre, the sources said. The NSCN-IM general secretary, who has been refusing to meet the media, held a four-hour, closed-door meeting with Wang, they claimed.
Asked why Wang was not arrested, and was deported within three days of her capture, the sources cited the ongoing political dialogue with the NSCN-IM.
The NSCN-IM denied the claims. The general secretary has made it clear that we are holding talks here and that we have no relations with either China or other groups in the Northeast, the convener of the ceasefire monitoring group, Phunthing Shimrang, said from Dimapur.
According to documents in possession of this newspaper, Wang visited Hong Kong on a tourist visa last November and also procured tourist visas to visit Myanmar and Thailand.
She had arrived in Delhi from the south China business hub of Guangzhou, which had hosted a meeting of Northeast insurgent outfits last September, the sources said. Wang had visited India the previous month and earlier in January 2010.
On January 16 this year, Wang had boarded the Brahmaputra Mail from Delhi accompanying a group of Ao (a Naga tribe) students and a couple of NSCN-IM cadres, the sources said. At Camp Hebron, she was briefed about the NSCN-IMs capabilities with improvised explosive devices and the groups attachments in Myanmar, a source said.
She was detained in Dimapur two days later for violating the Foreigners (Protected Area) order of 1958. The rules for Protected Area Permit have been relaxed since January 1 this year but Chinese, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals still need special permission to enter certain northeastern states.
The next day, January 19, Wang was sent to Delhi where she was interrogated on January 20 before being deported the next evening.
Wang was put on Chinese Southern Airlines Flight CZ630 to Beijing at 10.40pm on Friday, at a time NSCN-IM leaders were waiting at the same Delhi airport to receive chairman Isak Chishi Swu, the sources said.
The NSCN-IM has had close contact with Beijing since the days of Mao Zedong. The relations had weakened during Deng Xiaopings tenure but have been revived.