Northeast India

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  • Anti-Talk ULFA Faction: Why a Comeback is Unlikely

    Given the hostility of Assamese society to indiscriminate violence and the sullied image of the ULFA leaders due to their amassing of wealth through extortions, the anti-talk ULFA faction would not be able to make a determined come back.

    February 29, 2012

    Growing Maoist Activism in Assam: Sinister and Calculated Moves

    Although law enforcement agencies have been receiving timely reports about growing Maoist activities in Assam, it appears that they do not pay much attention to the issue.

    February 24, 2012

    Ashish asked: What is the impact of India’s emerging ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar on Chinese influence in north-east India?

    Namrata Goswami replies: One of the main impacts of India’s growing ties with Bangladesh is the easing of tensions with regard to demarcation of the border, especially in states like Tripura and Assam. Most importantly, states in the northeast want to increase connectivity by using the Chittagong port, which opens up a quicker access to the sea for them. India and Bangladesh have also collaborated on closing down northeast insurgent camps in Bangladesh, especially with regard to the ULFA. With Myanmar, India has developed a broad relationship of economic connectivity, trade, and political openness. Myanmar is also passing through political reform with Aung San Suu Kyi taking part in democratic elections. Democracy in Myanmar will further broaden its ability to be inclusive with regard to its ethnic minorities, who mostly live in the India-Myanmar border area. This in turn will strengthen existing India-Myanmar cooperation in fighting insurgencies in the region. That said, growing ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar, while strengthening connectivity of India’s northeast to the outside world, do not directly impact on China’s influence in the northeast, which is culturally minimal, to say the least. Most of the ethnic groups that migrated to the northeast from Yunnan in China are neither Han nor do they seek any great historical connection with the Chinese empire. Hence, given China’s limited influence, both politically and socially, India’s growing relationship with Bangladesh and Myanmar are significant by themselves and not as a counter to Chinese influence in the region.

    Vibha asked: What is the influence of China's growth on north-east India and the Indian Ocean region?

    Namrata Goswami replies: The influence of China’s growth on northeast India can be two-folds. The first is one in which the people of the northeast could get inspired by the Chinese economic growth model, especially in its south western province of Yunnan, and emulate such a globalising model. Already, the chief ministers of the region are ardent supporters of the “Look East” policy which aims to create land and rail connectivity between India’s northeast, Myanmar, and Yunnan in China. This could foster economic connectivity and bring in prosperity to the northeast. The other influence is more security related. China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh and its water diversion plans on the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet are creating a public perception in the northeast that China is a threat to India. Hence, while China’s influence with regard to economic connectivity could be positive, its territorial claim and water diversion plans are negative influences.

    Similar is the case with the Indian Ocean. China views the Indian Ocean, especially the Malacca Strait, as the lifeline for its energy supplies and exports, which is critical to maintaining its internal growth. It wants to collaborate with other Indian Ocean countries to ensure the safety of these lanes. However, China is an authoritarian regime with a closed political system. Hence, its military modernisation, acquisition of an aircraft carrier and assertive claims on the South China Sea is creating an atmosphere of militarisation of international waters. The Chinese influence is thus highly securitised.

    Hans Raj Singh asked: What is the basic reason of insurgency in northeast India? How the problem can be tackled efficiently?

    Namrata Goswami replies: There are four basic reasons for insurgencies in the Northeast. First, there was a historical absence of pre-British and British colonial polices to integrate the hill areas of then Assam to the rest of British India. Hence, the absence of historical linkages has created a space for later day feelings of cultural and political differences amongst ethnic communities with the rest of India. Second, most of the ethnic communities view ‘the use of force’ as more effective than non-violent dissent in getting New Delhi's attention which is physically so far away. Third, the continuous lack of economic opportunities creates incentives for unemployed youths to join armed movements where they earn a salary. Fourth, existence of external help from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar has perpetuated the insurgencies.

    Problem can be tackled by use of efficient policing since absence of law enforcement has led to increase in armed violence. Effective policing should be supported by good governance, civil and political rights. The use of dialogue and negotiations is the only solution to these armed conflicts.

    India’s Internal Security: The Year That Was, The Year That May Be

    India’s internal security situation in 2011 was relatively better than in previous years. To ensure that 2012 also turns out to be a quiet and secure year, New Delhi not only has to consolidate the gains made in 2011 but also undertake new initiatives to address these gaps.

    December 13, 2011

    The Hills of Assam: A Glimpse of Peace

    Though the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) has been received well by the Karbi people, there are certain obstacles towards its implementation.

    December 05, 2011

    A non-territorial resolution to the Naga ethnic conflict

    The Union government must work in consultation with the governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur to identify problem areas on the path to a non-territorial Naga council.

    November 15, 2011

    ULFA’s Unrealistic ‘Charter of Demands’

    ULFA’s “Charter of Demands” with the inherent claim that the outfit speaks for Assam as a whole needs to be questioned and analysed.

    August 11, 2011

    Is India’s Transport Infrastructure Prepared for the Eastern Front?

    It is imperative that the transport connectivity in the Northeast be strengthened by the establishment of railway networks in the hinterland, by the timely construction of roads that extend to the borders, and by expediting the construction of bridges.

    June 15, 2011

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