TODAY -

NE India: A corridor to East and South-east Asia

Dr Kshetri Rajiv *



The abundant natural resources and the future prospect of international trade in the Northeast region have led India to formulate a kind of policy to tap this potentiality. At the same time, India's desire to extend its influence in a region where China is registering rapid growth in both military and economic power has led it to focus on the Northeast.

It was during the tenure of P.V. Narashimha Rao as Prime Minister that India formulated its Look East Policy (LEP) - a policy to forge stronger ties with Southeast Asia. It was a logical extension of India's policy of economic liberalization, which was introduced in 1991 with the then Finance Minister Manmohon Singh as the chief architect.

Substantive efforts towards closer political, economic and military ties underscore the logic of India's LEP. Thus, India's economic liberalization is a response to globalization and LEP is the product of this process in which India's economic agenda is to adjust with the changing international economic order.

In fact, the increasing security concerns in the region have also paved the way for India to redefine its relations with hostile neighbouring countries. The increasing level of political and military interface between India and Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar in the recent years as parts of LEP signals a broader regional engagement.

In this context, India's LEP is also guided more or less by defense and strategic interests. At the same time, India's interest is driven by internal security. The perceived existence of various armed insurgent groups in the Northeastern part of India having base camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh is a matter of serious strategic concern.

The presence of these insurgents across the international borders has caused a lot of security anxieties for India. In order to cope up with the problem, India has to make attempt to persuade both Burma and Bangladesh to act against these insurgents operating from their soils.

With this vision, trading and development oriented ventures like the BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Corporation) and Mekong-Ganga Project are developed which have now gained their prominence. Facilitation of these projects has been done by the World Bank as plans for 1360 kilometer Trans Asian Highway to link India, Myanmar and Thailand in the first phase and with Indo-China in the second phase are on the card.

The Trans-Asian Highway will, in due course of time, be a much larger trans-Eurasian network linking South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China with Europe. The Mekong - Ganga Cooperation (MGC) launched in Vietnam in November 2000 comprising of India and five riparian states of Mekong namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam is another important component in India's strategy to evolve a comprehensive relation with the Southeast Asian Nations through the strategic location of India's Northeast region.

This prospect is partly the reason that has drawn the Government of India to transform the economy of the region by exploiting its hydro power potentials through what some perceive as a major, 'aggressive strategy'.

In fact, India's LEP facilitates promise opportunities and challenges for the future of Northeast Region of India. It assumes that Northeast India has the potential to emerge as a producing and exporting region in South Asia if the policy is properly implemented. It is this advantage of the northeast region's geographical location that has generated India's massive interest, especially with the need to expand a particular type of trade and investment cooperation between the countries and dominant economic interests of South Asia and South East Asia. Thus, the Northeast has become critically important for the Indian government's economic and geo-political ambitions.

However, the underdevelopment of the northeast region has been the major impediment for India to carry forward the policy in earnest. As a result, the rich natural resources have become a target of the policy.

In India after the post -1991 phase of economic liberalization, International Finacial Institutions (IFIs) have now intensified their presence and reach. The IFI focus on this region is evident from the large number of projects including several in the pipeline that have mushroomed in an array of sectors such as infrastructure, energy, rural and urban development, tourism, agriculture and water resource management.

Three International Financial Institutes (IFIs) involved in influencing, legitimizing and funding these projects are the multilateral World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as well as the bilateral Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

It may be noted that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has already assisted Assam and Sikkim, and is currently carrying out its grand plan covering road development, trade and investment, power, tourism and urban infrastructure development in the The World Bank (WB) has supported the preparation of strategic studies for roads in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.

It has been funding state roads in Assam and Mizoram and is likely to process a second loan for state roads in Assam. According to ADB, the economy of this region has remained far below potential and unable to provide basic infrastructure, resulting in the underutilization of the region's vast resources, keeping the region as a whole backward and poor.

However, the process of developmental initiatives carried out through these agencies has reached a critical situation as they are found to be insensitive to the way of life of indigenous communities of the region. The basic question now is whether the process of 'development' benefits people and whether the changes enhance social justice, equity as well as the sustainability of the ecosystem of the region.

A close observation on the working pattern of these agencies reveals the fact that there is little participation of indigenous peoples, lack of accountability mechanisms, transparency and disclosure policies. As a result, various forms of civil societies have now come out to oppose the intervention of these international financial institutions in the region thereby delaying the developmental process of the region itself.

Therefore, it may be argued that in the process of developmental planning of the region, it is imperative for the planners to formulate policies to suit various demands of the newly emerging impact of the liberalization process as well as the existing tribal economy of the region.


* Dr Kshetri Rajiv wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao(English Edition)
The author is a Research Associate at Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
This article was webcasted on March 30, 2011.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Marangwon at @Mt Khorung #3 : Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #1: Gallery
  • I call it life :: Poem
  • International day for Disaster reduction
  • Contested territorial demands in Manipur
  • WhatsApp & mobile usage study results
  • Physics Programme in Nowgong College
  • Rejoinder to NDPP [15 October]
  • Stop bluffing Nagas
  • The state of the states
  • Gearing up for Oct 31 rally
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #4
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #2: Gallery
  • X-Jam -Extreme Sports & Music festival
  • Urban Local Govt in Mizoram :: Book
  • 3 perspectives in context of present Manipur
  • Figures in the Shadows :: Poem
  • To UNC, Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui on ST
  • HC acted in good faith for MU
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Chawailokpa, Chaong, Charaibi :: eMing
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • The undeniable subtlety of Atingkok
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #1
  • Let me shower moonlight :: Poem
  • On allegations issued by NPF : NDPP
  • Challenges to the digital dreams
  • Eyes now on K Yugindro
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #3: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #2 : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe wont grab land of Hill Tribes
  • Making a tangible difference
  • Contradicted journey of IPC Section 377
  • Free open defecation & open pee
  • Act East & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Vacancies at Multimind Software
  • Waiting for "Sorry"
  • Out Yugindro in Jarnail Singh
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #1 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Management Convergence at Mizoram Univ
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Cry of a Dying River - 49 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is free from compulsion...
  • 7th AGM / Cultural evening of AMAND, Pune
  • Forsaken farmers - food for thought
  • Second police raid at MU
  • NESO opposes Indo-Nepal Treaty in NE
  • British Council, NEC sign MoU
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #1: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #1 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • University :: Poem
  • Remembering class boycott 2009-2010
  • Hair stylist as career option #2
  • Training of Trainers on Gender Justice
  • Manipur University fresh violence by police
  • MU Crisis- admissions and omissions
  • Issues besetting State before LS polls
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba #2 : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Opening of Moreh-Tamu Border Gate
  • Forest Cover of Nagaland :: Book Review
  • Ingocha Chingtham: Cycling from Mumbai ..
  • Blood Transfusion service- future in Manipur
  • IT Enabled Employment Generating Course
  • NDPP condemns statement of NPF
  • Beyond the reality
  • Need for MUTA to approach Court
  • Kang Tournament @Kongba #2: Gallery
  • Elangbam Sonamani : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Celebrating the rights of wildlife- Are we
  • The sky's gone wonderful :: Poem
  • Communal Harmony and Integration
  • Opportunity for India in Indo-Pacific Region
  • To be a good man
  • Education : Why no private players here ?
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • MN Singh promoted as IG of CBI felicitated
  • Loktak from different perspectives #2
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • The Journey of Happiness :: Poem
  • A personal discourse of Manipuri people
  • Improper use of loud speakers in Manipur
  • Art Exhibition @Art College #3: Gallery
  • Sudip Kongbrailatpam -recording engineer
  • Dismantled 9th times & safer in 10th times
  • Remembering Irawat: Are we following ..
  • State Level Archery Championship 2018
  • Stop religious encroachment at Kangla
  • Navratri (festival) make up
  • khongjang changsinnaba sem sarey : ST
  • MU crisis: Emerging questions
  • Lining up five days blockade
  • Dhol Chollom @Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #2
  • Maroi napakpi in Manipuri dishes
  • National Integration Tour Team
  • Cry of a Dying River - 48 :: Poem
  • Ending antimicobial resistance to #endTB
  • Condoles death of Pu Kaikhokam Kipgen
  • Rejoinder to NDPP (5th Oct) : NPF
  • Responsibility required - not restriction
  • After Thuingaleng Muivah who ?
  • Paddy dry up due to deficit rainfall
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram : RAW in WAR Award
  • Agribusiness & Carbon Management : Book
  • Is Gandhi (ian) relevant today ?
  • Guidelines for Hostels for Children
  • ATM based frauds : Router compromise
  • 'Rio's announcement as just mockery'
  • Training Program on Mushroom Cultivation
  • 'Chadong' - the victim of development
  • Poles apart : Pandey and Singh
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #2
  • Why has Egg become Danger for Manipur?
  • Speech by Atif Anik on Irabot Day 2018
  • Wounded tree :: Poem
  • Hair stylist as career option
  • Synopsis of Sizo Festival 2018
  • Traffic regulation still a Flop show
  • In the evening of his life : Th Muivah
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba : Gallery
  • World Bamboo Day #2: Gallery
  • Where have all the lights gone ?
  • Mahatma and non-violence
  • Detention of students/professors of MU
  • Gandhi Jayenti at Itanagar
  • IBSD cleans Imphal City
  • MU: Abide by wisdom of Sr citizens
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Power of humility
  • Ghost of Pandey : Four teachers suspended
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #1: Gallery
  • October Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Looking at Loktak from perspectives #1
  • Morning - a Haiku :: Poem
  • R&V Art House curates 'Land of Polo'
  • Show for football fans at NEUFC Fan Park
  • Indigenous People: Stand against Fascist
  • Clarification on Tamei Residential School
  • Organic Farming Tour to Sikkim
  • System error- or is this real democracy
  • Autonomy for Naga- Stakeholders on board
  • Th. Muivah hospitalized
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #1: Gallery
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest : Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #1
  • The day after Sahnit-Ni
  • Cry of a Dying River - 47 :: Poem
  • Observation of World Alzheimer's Day
  • Benefits of almond oil for the hair
  • NEUFC Fan to host musical performances
  • ..but Irabot may still shed tears in heaven
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all about
  • Tingmila Doungel : Manipuri Boxer
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to dead by living
  • Manipur: Past & Present (Vol.2) :: Book
  • Genesis of Naga-Kuki clash in early nineties
  • 9th Children's Cultural Meet 2018
  • Parakram Diwas : 2nd Anniversary
  • International Visitors Leadership Program
  • He calls state Govt as unrecognized..
  • Tough stand of Govt noted
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #3
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #2 :: Gallery
  • Tribute to Oja Nandiram with 'In Memoriam'
  • The resurgence of Hijam Irabot
  • Love for post of MU vice-chancellor
  • Condemns arrests of MU student/teachers
  • Spot Enquiry by MCPCR Team
  • Seriousness with sincerity matters
  • 48 hours bandh on, then what ?
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #1 :: Gallery
  • Hijam Irabot - Our 'Icon of Revolution'
  • Food preparation among Zeliangrong
  • Is it the final countdown to #endTB?
  • Let's give time a chance :: Poem
  • If Buddhism Is Not A Religion Or Philosophy
  • Using false identity to mislead
  • In response to CM's appeal
  • CM's call against bandh
  • MU: Hunger Strike[25 Sep] :: Gallery
  • Irabot's letter to Assembly :: 18 Oct 1948
  • SC Case on Killings Must be Complied
  • How we lost internal autonomy: Mountbatten
  • The flute player :: Poem
  • Biodiversity for Everyone's Life : Video
  • DU protest against attack on MU Community
  • Unfolding dirtiest of the dirty game
  • Net down since September 21
  • MU: Students protest[25 Sep] :: Gallery
  • Art Exhibition by R & V Art House
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom - II
  • Electrology as career option
  • When Autumn Came :: Poem
  • Against 48 hrs bandh: Thadou Students
  • Leadership / Media seminar at Dimapur
  • Demise of a dream
  • Traffic menace: Ring road, flyover promise
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Autonomy on a leash
  • Manipur: Past & Present (Vol.1) :: Book
  • World Bamboo Day #1: Gallery
  • 45th AMWJU Foundation day : Gallery
  • Lai Lik Lei & their debut "Esei"
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #2: Gallery
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #2 : Gallery
  • Felicitation of Sportsperson: Gallery
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #3: Gallery
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS