Published: July 5, 2014
The Northeast needs a skilful person who can take the region out of its insurgency grip, mobilise leaders of substance and work out a decentralised multi-level development strategy
A vibrant Northeast? This is not Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s catch-all phrase for the seven northeastern States, though the region does figure in his list of priorities for economic rejuvenation, and strategic and infrastructural development.
I am not sure if General V.K. Singh’s choice as MoS (independent charge) for the development of the Northeast is right, even though he is knowledgeable about the region. He has the reputation of being straight-forward and a doer, but only in the realm of defence so far. The Northeast today needs a skilful politico-economic person who can take the region out of its insurgency grip, mobilise leaders of substance and work out a decentralised multi-level development strategy aimed at fostering the region’s growth.The Look East Policy
The land-locked region continues to be stuck in politico-bureaucratic status quo, even after Prime Minister Narasimha Rao placed it under special focus as part of the Look East Policy in 1991. This has since become an integral part of India’s foreign policy rhetoric, which has already travelled from phase one to phase two under various Prime Ministers without addressing basic infrastructure and all-inclusive growth.
Each Prime Minister has reiterated the country’s commitment to take the Look East Policy forward, but this has been done somewhat half-heartedly in view of strategic and logistical problems emanating from sporadic bursts of violence by terrorist and insurgent groups operating on both sides of the border. Today, the situation on the insurgency front is somewhat easier, especially along the Myanmar and Bangladesh borders. Still, “caution” has to be the mantra.