TODAY -

Development and counterinsurgency
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: October 02 2015 -



One unmistakeable marker of development for most local elites in the Northeast region of India seems to be the visible presence of what they understand as modern infrastructure.

For them, the ability to create concrete structures in an urban milieu was akin to a successful implementation of envisioned developmental objectives.

Unfortunately, the same idea has been further reinforced by belief that the region lacks development due to prolonged armed conflict and insurgency.

This belief has reduced the whole political discourse of armed movement into what has been called the “the logic of lack.”

Under this logic, the rubric of development has been pushed-in as one way of seeking the legitimacy of the State in countering armed insurrections.

Here, the idea of development has been tied imprudently to the notion of counterinsurgency disguising coercion and hegemony.

The discourse underpinned here has been amply supported by the intended overlap of military and civilian spaces in the Northeast region.

Civic Action Programme conducted by army and central paramilitary forces has been literally intended to take the local populace into confidence and boost the image of armed forces among the common people.

These forces take up various welfare and developmental activities like holding of medical camps, sanitation drives, sports meets, and distribution of study materials to children, minor repairs of school buildings, roads, bridges, etc.

What the Government of India has not realised is the fact the attempt to build the image of the forces has led to intrusion and usurping of the civilian space.

This implies that there is an absence and the inability of the government to handle any course of action rather than to represent governance itself.

The logic now is simple and clear. If the State apparatus wants to retain their space and legitimacy, it can only be done through the politics of containment.

This is why it is not uncommon to see uniformed men even sponsoring sporting events and supplying items to schools and colleges as if it was a normal practice across the world.

This subtle change in strategy may bring temporal national dividend in near future but it does not bode well for a healthy democracy.

Any observers will find it convenient to ask ‘whether insurgency is a response to development or development is a response to insurgency’.



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