TODAY -

Great game for peace and security

Free Thinker *



Until and unless we have peace and security at the ground level, we can’t move forward for anything – whether it is for greater autonomy, urban progress, rural development, employment generation, poverty eradication, ST inclusion or exclusion, legal business, tourism, ‘Yu’ export etc.

Even for smooth smuggling and proper corruption normalcy is very much required. In a disturbed area everything is a shambles. This applies to the entire region and particularly to our State, Manipur these days.

So, the message is quite clear – for doing anything and everything we desperately need peace and security. Peace in the society (in the region) and security for the people – every citizen must be safe and secure. Then, who is going to ensure it? Big State or small State! That is a million-dollar question.

Everyone is asking a simple question – what should be done for peace and progress? To answer this simple question, it is really difficult. Theoretically there may be simple answers but those who know a little bit about the ground reality - can comprehend the intricacies.

We all have by-heart the issues – ethnic enmity, illegal immigration, unemployment, poverty, health care deficiency, tardy economic development, lack of quality education, chronic insurgency, rampant corruption, lack of accountability, feeling of neglect , identity politics and so on.

However, in the last ten years or so the development index in the Northeast is encouraging – particularly in the field of infrastructure development. Look at the roadways, railways and airline services – there is a manifold increase. Construction and completion of National Highways and bridges are commendable. Most impressive is the border roads in Arunachal and Sikkim.

Along with the infra- structure development the economic activities are also on the rise. Trade and industries are growing at a faster rate in the last few years. The health, education index, and per capita income are on the positive scale.

The overall law and order scenario is also good. We can say that the entire northeast is relatively peaceful now . Manipur remains an exception in the last ten months or so. Manipur is no doubt an aberration ; you know why – it becomes difficult to control the so-called ethnic strife.

According to our understanding – this is not a clash between two people i.e. Meiteis and Kukis - it is a conflict perhaps created but certainly prolonged by hidden outside powers. Instability in this region is detrimental to Bharat’s growth, Act East Policy and its expansion towards Burma and ASEAN.

If you look at the fast-changing scenario in the region we suspect the involvement of foreign hands. For their larger goal keeping the region destabilized is in their interest. Prosperity and growth in this region go against their ulterior motive. They never want Bharat to become economically vibrant, militarily strong and diplomatically powerful – and ultimately become a Super power like them.

All these things are happening whether we believe it or not, Bharat’s Act East policy is doing pretty well except for some hiccups with Myanmar. It is doing extremely well with Bangladesh, Bhutan, off and on with Nepal. Interaction and exchanges with ASEAN countries are quite encouraging. Cooperation with individual countries is growing particularly in trade and tourism.

Northeast is a land-lock region except for a river route through Brahmaputra flowing towards Bay of Bengal ( via Bangladesh). In the absence of sea-ports, big-ticket international highways and rail-connectivity, trade and commerce with other countries is lagging behind.

Hopefully in the near future we will be in position to establish rail and road links with the ASEAN countries through Myanmar. There are certain issues which are to be sorted out bilaterally. In any case in our national interest, we are continuing dialogues even with the Military Junta. However, the Chinese interference in Myanmar affairs is much stronger.

Actually, I am yet to read a book called “Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier '', by Bertil Lintner. Reading on Kindle will not give the right impact except going through the hard copy.

Now the paperback is available; I am sure somebody will buy me a copy. It seems my respected seniors had gone through the book and they have started discussing the same on tv shows. Nice to listen to them.

To satisfy my inquisitive mind I had just gone through the book review on the web page of Vivekananda International Foundation. The book also reflects on revolutionary movements in the Northeast and also in Burma. To comprehend the NE region better the writer establishes a close link between the region and the neighboring Burma - which was also facing the trouble of ethnic insurgency.

The disturbances in the Northeast and now particularly in Manipur is perhaps linked with the power struggle of Super powers to control Burma, ASEAN and Bay of Bengal. The Game is much bigger. This struggle is further complicated by the involvement of Golden Triangle money, war-lords (rebel groups), and disgruntled politicians in both Burma and Bharat.

Local fries can’t handle such an intricate situation but big guns of Delhi can.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 19 February 2024.



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