[Solved] The north-eastern region of India has been infested with insurgency for a very long time. Analyze the major reasons for the survival of armed insurgency in this region ( UPSC GS-3 Mains 2017)
India’s North-east region has been land of thousand mutinies. These mutinies have been taking place since pre-independence times. The insurgencies in north east are in-part a reflection of its social, cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity, terrain, socio-economic development, politico-economic conditions, historical evolution and changes in the environment of the area. They have also been financed and supported by the various global factors too, which include the proximity to the golden triangle in south-east Asia and money, drugs and arms being supplied by narcotics traders in exchange of safe transit.North east regionIndia’s North-east region has been land of thousand mutinies. These mutinies have been taking place since pre-independence times. The insurgencies in north east are in-part a reflection of its social, cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity, terrain, socio-economic development, politico-economic conditions, historical evolution and changes in the environment of the area. They have also been financed and supported by the various global factors too, which include the proximity to the golden triangle in south-east Asia and money, drugs and arms being supplied by narcotics traders in exchange of safe transit.
Large scale migration has created a fear in the minds of people that they will be reduced to minority in their own states or regions. Migrants threaten their culture and traditions and also occupy already limited employment opportunities. Migration of Muslims has also imparted it a communal color.Example:The recent protests in Bodoland was compounded by the perception among the Bodos that illegal migration from Bangladesh is relegating them to a minority status in their own land.
• Lack of economic opportunities and governance deficit making it easier for people to feel alienated and left out and thus providing support for insurgency.
• Porous international borders and easy availability of arms.
• Difficult terrain and weak infrastructure facilitating insurgents involved in conflict.
• Ethnic conflicts between several tribes and language issues, for example, Naga vs Manipur conflict Efforts made:
• The major positives for the government in 2015 with regard to insurgency in Northeast India include: – The significant signing of the ‘Framework Agreement’ with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) for an eventual resolution of the problem
– Getting the jailed leader Anup Chetia of ULFA back to India from Bangladesh.
– Efforts for peace with insurgent groups of the region have also been started
- Due to its distinct socio-cultural background and particular historical evolution, the North-East region of India holds several fault lines around which many insurgent groups have been thriving for a very long time. The major reasons behind the evolution and survival of armed insurgency in this region areThis region has been one of the most neglected regions in terms of developments and is the main cause behind the resentment of the people living in this area. The insurgent groups take advantage of resentment of people and get support base.
- Alienation of population from mainstream political process, where the insurgent group continue to boycott the dialogue and electoral process. (Ex – NSCN-Khaplang group) Hilly terrain, dense forest and porous borders give strategic advantages for the insurgent Guerilla groups and at the same time it creates big hurdle for the counter insurgency operations.
- Racial clashes are very common here due to diverse racial profile of the region. In a fractured society the insurgent groups penetrate easily.
- Active and covert foreign support to these insurgent groups, through training, logistic and moral support has also been a big hurdle to eradicate these groups.
- The twin approach of development and counter insurgency operations coupled with honest political dialogue process may provide the best answer to the long infested insurgency in the North-East.
- The North-East region of India comprises eight states viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
- Primary reason: The region of India has been infested with insurgency for a very long time due to the presence of different cultural, social backgrounds, territorial disputes, historical arguments, geographical factors, etc. The major reasons behind the survival of armed insurgency in this region are Major reasons:
- During the time of the British rule in India, the government overlooked this area for development. Though the Azad hind fauj under the leadership of S.C. Bose had some movement in this area but it missed the real administration.
- Northeast India is adorned with very dense Tropical semi-evergreen and moist deciduous types of forest, which provides easy protection to the insurgents to conduct their activities.
- Tensions between the tribal people of Northeast India like Bodo, Kuki, Adi, Garo, Khasi, Angami is a very significant cause.
- The borders of many foreign countries provide easy access to arms, drug trading.
- There is always a conflict between north Indian states and the centers which directly or indirectly stalls fund allocation and developmental process.
- The area is totally isolated from the political thoughts of India which enables the insurgents to increase their activity and influence.
- Measures: The people of the north Indian state of India are under the control of the insurgents. They need to be brought back into the mainstream of society. The hilly areas are problematic for conducting routine surveillance. Using modern technology could be a solution to it. It will help to cease illegal trading and eventually restrict foreign influence.
- Following these measures and with unity and integrity, the infestations of insurgency could easily be controlled in the near future.
- Naga insurgency group announced their independence for separate Naga country one day prior to the day when India got independence, i.e., northeast insurgency started prior to independence only. Since the govt of India facing lot of challenges in dealing with such groups. Stringent acts like AFSPA has brought, sometimes peace talks were also held. Though the situation has improve but did not eliminated the problem of insurgency completely. There are various reasons for the continuation of insurgency.
- Here multiple insurgent groups are working with multiple agendas
- If govt conclude peace agreement with one group, then other group started retaliating
- Their bases lies in other countries like , bangladesh and myanmar
- Difficult terrain
- Guerilla war fare used by insurgents
- Support from local people to these insurgent groups because of cultural and insecurity reasons 7. Strong economic resources available to them
- Mis use of internation border(free border area with myanmar , non fenced border with bangladesh) Recommendations to solve North East India Problems
- Thorough background check of all insurgents groups should be carried out before the central government enters into any Ceasefire or Suspension of Operations Agreements with the insurgents.
- Political solutions to the Assam problem should be discussed openly as widely as possible to avoid backlash from the tribal and the minority population of the state./eastern region/
- A system of work permit should be issued so that the illegal Bangladeshi migrants do not end up as Indian citizens.
- The Autonomous District Councils should be empowered.
- Governance should be improved in a step by step manner. Strict supervision by senior officials should be initiated to improve the delivery system of the government./eastern region
- The Ministry of the Development of the North East region (DoNER) be merged with the North East Council (NEC) for better strategic planning and coordination of various developmental projects in the region.
- Focus of the Ministry f DoNER and NEC should be on investment in mega-projects which will make big difference to the development of the region.
- Institutional capacities in the North east should be developed urgently./eastern region/
- Pragmatic land use policy should be formulated for attracting industries in the region. Micro, small and medium enterprises should be encouraged.
- Local tourism should be promoted. Tourists residing in the eight North Eastern states should be encouraged to travel within the region.
- Niche tourism or high end tourism should be encouraged. Medical and higher education tourism should be encouraged.
- The North east should become a single economic unit without disturbing the political boundaries of the states. No internal traffic barriers in the region. Exclusive five year plan for the North east focusing on development of infrastructure.
Look East Policy
Greater awareness about the Look East Policy and its benefits to the North East should be generated among he policymakers and the intelligentsia of the region./eastern region/
- Ties with Myanmar should be deepened by exploiting Myanmar’s anxieties about China as well as existing deep civilization and spiritual ties.
- The North East region must be included in the India-ASEAN Vision for trade and cooperation. Development Plan for the North East should factor India-ASEAN strategic cooperation.
- Integrated and bottoms up approaches are required for integration of the North east in the Look East Policy. The North East should formulate plans as to how it can engage with the ASEAN. Better coordination of efforts by all the Northeastern states should be ensured.
- Visa offices of Bangladesh and Myanmar should be located in the North East.
- Centres/Departments for the studies of neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal in Universities should be set up in universities to understand India’s neighbours better./eastern region/
- Special economic zones along India-Bangladesh border, especially in Meghalaya and Assam should be set up.
- States should focus more on the development and security of the border areas.
- Sentiments of the people of Arunachal Pradesh should be taken into consideration by the central government while discussing the frameworks for resolution of the border dispute with China.
- Matching infrastructure and military capability should be build to ensure peace and enable negotiations from a position of strength/eastern region/
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