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GOC calls for engagement of UG groups at strategic level
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 01 2015: GOC 3 Crops Lt Gen Bipin Rawat has highlighted the urgent need to engage UG groups of Manipur at the strategic level including engaging their leadership.

He was speaking at seminar on the topic 'An emergent Manipur: The way ahead' organised by IGAR (S) at the Mantripukhri headquarters today.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat said that earlier attempts to reach out to insurgent groups by offering ceasefire, suspension of operations and surrender largely proved unsuccessful.

The first and foremost step for engaging UG groups in Manipur would be initiation of a process for identifying common ground which are acceptable to the conflicting groups and the Government machinery through an inclusive mechanism.

The contradictory demands of various insurgent groups will have to be amalgamated in consonance with the voices of people to reach a practically viable solution of bringing normalcy in the State, asserted the Lt Gen.



GOC calls for engagement of UG groups at strategic level
GOC calls for engagement of UG groups at strategic level : Pix - DIPR


Myanmar is a major stake holder in Manipur and there can be no peace and development in the State till Myanmar also finds better pay-offs in promoting peace and development, compared to supporting Indian insurgent groups, he said.

Myanmar has a major role to play in India's Act East Policy.

Apart from increasing trade and transportation opportunities arising from a close relationship with Myamnar, India has also taken a keen interest in securing access to Myanmar's abundance of natural resources to fuel the rapidly expanding Indian economy.

However, the issue of Myanmar's support to Indian insurgent groups has no common ground.

The presence of Indian insurgent groups in the close vicinity of the border gives them a firm and secure base from where they can strike at Indian security forces.

The presence of these camps is going to seriously undermine India's Act East Policy because any development plan is either not going to be allowed (as is happening with Silchar-Imphal railway line) or subject to severe extortion with 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the funds going into UG coffers, Lt Gen Bipin Rawat said.

Since the emergence of UNLF in 1964, Manipuri society has been facing a precarious security situation.

Since 1992 till date, 7500 people have lost their lives.

While violent encounters between insurgent groups and security forces have come down in the recent years, bomb blasts and extortion continue.

Over the years, the UG groups have been thrown out from their strongholds into Myanmar and violence levels are largely under control, he claimed.

He stated that the purpose of the seminar was to arrive at a way forward for peace and prosperity in Manipur by amalgamation of divergent views from varied sections of the society.

Chief Minister O Ibobi graced the inaugural session as chief guest where retired Deputy Chief of the Army Staff and Ceasefire Monitoring Group chairman Lt Gen NK Singh, IGAR (S) Maj Gen VS Sreenivas, PHE Minister I Hemochandra and Deputy Speaker MK Preshow Shimray were also seated on the dais.

In his speech, Ibobi pointed out that Manipur is rightly called the gateway to South East Asia or the Nongpok Thong.

But the State is plagued with the problems of militancy, underdevelopment and poverty.

Though the State is well aware that peace, progress and prosperity go together, frequent bandhs, blockades and widespread extortions have been posing formidable obstacles to all efforts towards development.

Historically and till recent times, the various ethnic communities living in Manipur have lived in harmony.

However, this relationship has been vitiated by vested interests in the recent past to further their own vested agenda.

This trend of thought needs a change for all round development of the State.

Even though peace is a pre-requisite for development, one cannot keep waiting for a peaceful environment to initiate and push forward the development process.

Tackling militancy and bringing development has to be two-pronged process wherein all efforts should be made to restore peace and bring development simultaneously.

"There is no alternative to good governance and we must have a system in which the aspirations of the general public covering various ethnic groups are met in a harmonious manner", Ibobi stated.

He exuded that the seminar would come up with some concrete and pragmatic suggestions on the way ahead which would provide the State Government with a road map for the betterment of Manipur.

The first session of the seminar was chaired by Prof MU Vice-Chancellor H Nandakumar where Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy Reader Dr Th Bharat, MU Head of Department, Anthropology Prof W Nabakumar, IGAR (S) Maj Gen Sreenivas and 9 Sector AR Commander Brig VT Mathew presented papers on different topics.

The second session saw presentation of papers by Prof Amar Yumnam of MU Economics Department, Principal Secretary (Home) Dr J Suresh Babu, CFMG chairman Lt Gen NK Singh and Prof K Ibo of MU Political Science.

The seminar culminated with presentation of a speech on 'Vision for Lasting Peace in Manipur' by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam.


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