Empowering Change In The North East

"Let us hope that India becomes the only ‘geo-cultural country’ in the world as the rest of the world is ‘geopolitical’ as recently reiterated by Union Home Minister Shah. But this could be a distant dream with hyper-religious polarisation."

Empowering Change In The North East

I have had two tenures of 4 years each in the North East- the first one in Mizoram when the insurgency was at peak and I having taken advance party of my Battalion moving from peace station Gaya, concentrated at Agartala and marched on foot from Agartala to Aijwal around mid-1966. My second tenure was much later in Nagaland from Jun 1986 to Jun 1990 in the Assam Rifles. In my last tenure before superannuation on 30 Sep 1995 from Punjab, then under the spell of insurgency, as the senior military intelligence officer, I had sufficient involvement with police and administration in taming Pakistan sponsored Khalistan insurgency.

Insurgency in the Northeastern India involves multiple armed separatist factions operating in some states in the region connected to the rest of India by the Siliguri Corridor also referred as Chicken Neck - a strip of land as narrow as 14.29 miles (23.00 km) wide connecting Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Northeast India to one another and of great geo-strategic significance for our national security.

The strategic Northeastern region consists of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, often referred as the ‘Seven Northeastern Sisters’ and  populated by various mongoloid tribes converted to Christianity in 19th Century that were once part of Assam. Often, Sikkim very close to Chicken Neck, is clubbed as part of the Northeast region from national security, economy, development and geography but it is not part of the Seven Northeastern Sister States and hence kept out of this article.  

‘The Chicken Neck’ located east of Siliguri with rail and road communication with the Northeastern region is wedged between Nepal in the north and Bangladesh in south and exploited by our hostile neighbours the erstwhile East Pakistan and China, taking advantage of the wanton neglect of these areas. With liberation of Bangladesh, support to most of the secessionist groups has dried but in the remote mountainous jungle terrain bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar there are huge hidden caches of the Chinese weapons, ammunition and explosives purchased cheaply through Myanmar-Thailand remote hilly jungles and inaccessible border through numerous Myanmar insurgent groups.

Besides adversely affecting our national security, this nexus with Myanmar insurgent group’s acts as serious irritant towards India's ‘Act East Policy’. The Naga insurgency brewing since independence is the ‘Mother of all insurgencies’ in India, though successfully curbed has ‘domino effect’ on other states of the volatile strategic region that has tremendous potential for economic, industrial, tea, tourism and cottage industry’s growth.

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Reasons For Neglect Of The North East

Very briefly these are:-

  • Historical Legacy: The region never got desired focus due to remoteness, poor communications, British policy of giving autonomy to tribal regions which were then part of Assam, mass migration of labour, non-tribal plainsmen, Bengalis and Bangladeshis and animosity against demographic onslaught.
  • Human Issues: The Nagas were never homogenous collectively. SR Tohring (2010) lists 66 Naga tribes whereas Kibangwar Jamir (2016) lists 67 tribes. The 1991 Census of India listed 35 Naga groups as Scheduled Tribes: 14 in Nagaland, 15 in Manipur and 3 in Arunachal Pradesh. Many live in Myanmar too. Each tribe has its own dialect, culture and area of influence and interference from other tribes in not warranted. Since there was no written script and English alphabets were adopted and Nagami created as the link language. There have been historical inter and intra tribal animosities resulting in conflicting interests during any negotiations. Tribal students studying in mainland are mocked and ill-treated and sadly women students wrongly thought of easy virtues. This needs to be stopped forthwith.
  • Economic Neglect: Economic underdevelopment of the region due to poor road, rail, air and tele-communication network, rugged terrain and inclement weather. Enormous amounts of money released by Centre is pocketed by politicians and contractors back rolling insurgency, drugs, arms ammunition and explosives smuggling.

Brief Description of North Eastern States


Once Assam the ‘Mother State’ but now part of the seven sisters in the Northeastern India, is located south of the eastern Himalayas along Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh in the north, Nagaland and Manipur to the east, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Bangladesh in the south and West Bengal in the west via the strategic narrow Sillguri Corridor connecting the state and entire northeast to the rest of India. Assamese, Bodo and Bengali are the official languages of the Assamese while Bengali is official language in Barak valley.

Assam is known for tea, silk one horned rhinos, elephants, tigers, in fact diverse but unique fauna and flora, first site of oil drilling in Asia, mighty Brahmaputra River and its numerous tributaries and high rainfall providing hydro- geomorphic environment. The ‘Mighty Brahmaputra’ originating in Tibet known as the Yarlung Tsangpo and the Siang/Dihang River in Arunachal Pradesh, is the widest trans-boundary river in India that flows out to Bangladesh.

All the insurgency problems that earlier prevailed in the entire northeast region were once originally the discontentment issues that  brewed in the erstwhile Assam and carried and multiplied in all the numerous states created by dividing Assam. Large scale exodus of Bengalis, Biharis and Bangladeshis in Assam adversely affected local culture, economy and demography amongst ethnic Assamese and tribal population compounded by the alleged neglect and economic, social, cultural and political exploitation by the Indian state are leading to growth of this multiple secessionist movements by numerous insurgent and separatist groups operating in Assam since early 1970s.

The brewing tension between the native Assamese and increased levels of illegal immigration from Bangladesh resulted in violent clashes lashed out by the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) militants and other militant groups seeking to establish a sovereign Assam by armed struggle while the Karbis (KLNFC) and Bodos (NDFB) seek separate state and more autonomy respectively.

In a surrender ceremony held on 23 Jan 2020 at Guwahati, 644 cadres of various outfits like-ULFA, NDFB, KLO, CPI and other smaller/splinter groups surrendered with their weapons and 177 arms, 52 grenades, 71 bombs, 3 rocket launchers, 306 detonators, 1.93 kg explosive and 1,686 rounds of ammunition were deposited by them. The Bodo outfit also signed peace agreement with the Government.

While negotiations are on, internationally acclaimed Assamese novelist Indira Goswami is brokering peace between insurgents and both the state and the central governments and lately many Ulfa, Bodo Karbi, Kuki and Dimasa, Garcia and Tiwa insurgents have surrendered to Government and near normalcy is prevailing which with central government’s industrial, economic and infrastructural development projects will usher the region to era of peace and prosperity.

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Some of the significant issues are:-

  • Nagalim: The Nagas always wanted separate Nagalim country (Greater Nagaland) that included present day Nagaland, southeastern portions of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (erstwhile NEFA or North Eastern Frontier Agency), northern parts of Manipur and north western parts of Myanmar. The Tuensang tract of erstwhile NEFA were already merged with Nagaland and no government can grant such territorial concession.
  • Separatist Movements: Naga Club was formed in 1918 to push agenda of separatists; in 1935 Nagaland and district of Assam was declared ‘Special Backward Area’. The rebel Nagas declared independence on 14 Aug 1947. As that would ignite similar demands from other regions, the Government of India launched counter-insurgency operations.
  • Reconciliation Efforts: Government declared state with special provision to preserve religious and social practices and Naga laws prohibited non- Naga to own property in Nagaland. Negotiations with Naga People’s Convention (NPC) and Nagaland National Council (NNC) and raising of the Naga Regiment were efforts to let Nagas join main stream. Liberation of Bangladesh was a big blow to separatists. Also central government allowed absorption of surrendered Nagas in 111 & 112 BSF Battalions.
  • Shillong Accord of 11 Nov 1975: It was signed by undergrounds accepting Constitution of India but factions under Isak Chisi Swu, Muivah and Khaplang rejected it and NSCN raised splintered NSCN (K) under Khaplang a Manipuri Tankhul Naga and NSCN (IM) under Isak Chisi Swu (Sema) Muivah (Tankhul).
  • Recent Peace Efforts: Government of India made it amply clear that demand of independence and adjustment of boundary with other states/Myanmar is NOT acceptable. A coalition government of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Janta Dal United (JDU) has been formed with Neiphu Rio as CM in 2017. The NSCN (IM) and other factions must shun violence and Greater Nagaland demand and join the mainstream for rapid economic and industrial development, investment in the state and progress of the people and the region neglected due to long prevailing insurgency.


Manipur is located south of Nagaland with its eastern boundary contagious with Myanmar and prior to independence, it enjoyed higher degree of autonomy under Manipur Maharaja. It has diverse ethnic population of Meiteis (Vaishnavite Hindus) who with large population in the Manipur valley, which is 1/3rd of the state and traditionally controlled both political and economic activities. Also, living in the valley are Pangals the Bengali migrants so named, who married the local inhabitants. Rest of the 2/3rd state is rugged mountainous terrain inhabited by the Nagas and Kukis with numerous sub clans.

Conflicting Interests: While basically the Nagas want greater Nagaland, Meiteis want Manipur as single entity. Pangals and Kukis have their vested interests. Meiteis, are also irritated as entire logistics support to Manipur comes through road network from Nagaland that could be choked by the Nagas causing greater hardships. Construction of Jiribam-Imphal 111 km long railway line project costing ₹ 13,809 crore, will connect Imphal, the capital of Manipur with the rest of India by a rail link that will be extended to Moreh on the India- Myanmar border as part of the ambitious Trans Asian Railway. Jiribam is located on Manipur’s western most boundary, adjoining the Cachar district of Assam.

It is also known as the western gate of Manipur. There is urgent need to improve road connectivity in Manipur State and  Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari recently laid foundation stones for 13 highway projects, with construction value worth ₹3,000 crore, to improve connectivity in Manipur. Imphal, the capital has an airport with flight connectivity with rest of the country. Thus, Meiteis following the Naga insurgent groups started demanding independence with factions of the Nagas, Kukis and Pangals joining the fray.

Corruption, smuggling of narcotics, arms and ammunition sold cheaply in Cambodia, Thailand and by numerous Myanmar insurgent groups are lucrative business activities and human rights violation issues often crop up Manipur with heightened insurgency environment. The state is famous for producing world class sportsmen/women making India proud world over.

In Manipur Churachandpur is the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and cosmopolitan town raged in ethnic violence since 1947. The Khul Union was formed in 1947 including all hill tribes less Nagas to protect their interests. The passing of the anti-tribal bill a few years back by the state assembly further disrupted peace and harmony amongst numerous tribes and joint action committee against the bill was formed.

The problem gets complex as the state and people are divided in so many diverse small ethnic groups; too many are not even on socializing or talking terms and unable to get elected due to smaller population to win assembly seat(s) and matter gets complicated by predominance of money, guns and muscle power where militants cook the roost.

In the last state elections one James Khuma came to lime light. He refused any party affiliation and fought election as independent candidate attacking corruption, ethnic kinship support of militants on moral and Christian ethics. Though he lost election, his campaign against corruption, ethnic domination, money and muscle power has positively affected the youth desperately yearning for change in the existing ethnic based ailing and corrupt political system to transform people towards power of real democracy.

In 2020, there has been a steady decrease in insurgency related incidents and there has been no civilian death in the State. Mostly, Meitei insurgency is active in the state that resulted in killing of 07 insurgents by the SFs, arrest of 259 insurgents and recovery of 92 weapons in the State in 2020.


Mizoram is a landlocked northeastern region of our country that shares 722 km long international border (IB) with Myanmar and Bangladesh while in the north it is surrounded by Manipur, Assam, and Tripura.

Mizoram is a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes and the average height of the hills to the west of the state are about 1,000 m (3,300 ft), gradually rising up to 1,300 m (4,300 ft) to the east with a few rising to 2000 (6,600 ft). Phawnpui Talang (Blue Mountain) situated in the southeastern part of the state, is the highest peak in Mizoram at 2,210 m (7,250 ft). About 76% of the state is covered by thick bamboo forests, 8% is fallow land and 3% is barren. With diverse flora and fauna, the Blue Mountains have been now declared as a National Park.

Primitive farming based on ‘slash and burning’ or jhum cultivation is now being replaced with modern farming techniques. Due to thick jungles, undulating hills, wet and colder climate and sparse poor population, Mizoram was the ideal insurgency terrain that also hosts numerous species of birds, wildlife and flora, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates and our story’s main hero the Asiatic black bear!

The extremist secessionist elements within Mizo National Front (MNF) and its armed wing Mizo National Army (MNA) launched secretly series of simultaneous well-coordinated attacks on the posts of the 1st Battalion, The Assam Rifles (1 AR) 5th Battalion, The Border Security Force (5 BSF) and the local police deployed in Mizoram on night 28 February/1 March 1966 to seek independence from India.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) MI-4 helicopters with fighter escorts were unable to reinforce troops to besieged 1 AR Aizawl location due to heavy and accurate fire of the MNF insurgents. The IAF had no option but to bomb the MNA insurgents by fighter squadrons operating from Kumbhirgram and Jorhat. It is believed that Rajesh Pilot and Suresh Kalmadi took part in the bombing missions.

Our Unit got inducted in Aizawl with operational role all over Mizoram as the reserve Battalion in the thick of Mizo insurgency spearheaded by Laldenga, who was a Havildar in the Indian Army and later worked as an Accounts Clerk in the Assam Government. He was alienated with the Assam Government’s indifference towards severe famine and as a leader of the outlawed Mizo National Front (MNF) led the secessionist war for independence.

He took support from Pakistan taking shelter, training, weapons, money and moral support from the neighbouring erstwhile East Pakistan for the separatist movement and was arrested and jailed by the Indian authorities several times. The secessionist war lasted for sixteen years till the Mizo Accord was signed in 1986; the MNF became the legitimate local political party and Laldenga the Chief Minister. He died of lung cancer in 1990.

Our Modus Operandi

We did long range patrolling columns in the wilderness of Mizoram against cold, heavy rains traversing remote jungles and hills and dominating the rebels by pro-active operations. One never knew when sub-units would be launched for counter insurgency operations and when would we get back for much needed rest. Yet, we maintained high morale by optimising our counter insurgency operational skills.

I remember going for a column on search and destroy mission with scanty intelligence, poor radio and surface communication with 10 days ration, heavy loads of arms and ammunition in end December month and returning in the end February of the next year with tattered rag tag uniforms and jungle shoes and yet with high spirits!

Many a times we would be dropped by choppers in the thick remote jungles with old quarter inch scale maps disoriented, not knowing our bearings and where to go for quite some time, as all the hills in the thick landmarks deprived jungles with no habitation around for miles looked alike. There was constant threat of hostile ambushes or straying into East Pakistan or Burma and troops, especially the column commanders remained at tenterhooks.

We would mostly harbour on hilltops covered with thick rain forests, full of blood sucking leaches, snakes, reptiles and the only luxury as a column commander one could enjoy at times was a ground sheet bivouac in the night harbour! Sometimes we tactically camped in a remote village to generate confidence in locals, discreetly seek real time intelligence and make temporary helipad in the village to receive logistics support from unit and or evacuate an emergent casualty. Our troops and junior leadership were so well trained that it is a matter of pride, while we raided many hostile camps, captured large numbers of arms, ammunition and hostiles, not even once hostiles could target us.

In fact, along with search and combing operations, we ensured winning hearts and minds of poor locals in remote sparsely populated extremely poverty stricken villages dispensing basic In an insurgency environment, innocent remote villages away from security posts/pickets suffer the most as security forces (SFs) carrying out mobile operations seek their help as interpreters, guides and porters and moment SFs moved out, the insurgents would barge in with punitive action against them if the villagers had supported the SFs often called Vai (foreign) sepoys sadly reflecting then our integration with the northeast region. I often distributed meagre basic medicines that we carried as first aid for our columns to seriously sick in remote villages, toffees to kids and cigarettes to locals as part of fraternization.

At one time our 61 Mountain Brigade based in Aijwal had around 12 Battalions operating with unison in insurgency environment- 4 regular battalions, couple of Assam Rifles Battalions, BSF, CRPF units and an odd one like Bihar Military Police (BMP) Battalions and the Brigade Major worked 24x7, lived and slept in the Operational Room (Ops Room). The standards of training, outlook and orientation of the central police organisations (CPOs) along with the personnel of Border Roads were woefully short of operating in an insurgency environment and they were most vulnerable targets to insurgents who ambushed and looted their weapons, ammunition and equipment.

We carried an intensive search and cordon mission all over Mizoram through long range patrols (LRPs) and ‘ambushing Zaithanmowia’ was one such mission successfully undertaken by then Major (later Brigadier) RV Jatar discussed in a separate article. Mizoram is free from insurgency and developing very fast in the Northeastern region.


Meghalaya was carved out as separate state in 1971 from Assam and the Insurgency in this state was part of the wider insurgency in the northeastern region of the country fueled by demands of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes  who had inter and intra rivalries besides migratory Gorkhas, Biharis, Bengalis, Sikh settlers. Some non- Meghalaya insurgent groups like ULFA and NDFB (Bodo) operated in the region but after their mass surrender and disbandment and killing of local insurgents insurgency in Meghalaya has been eliminated and state is heading for peace normalcy and progress.

In 2020, there have been 05 insurgency related incidents with no kidnapping and abduction in the State with no casualties of civilian and SFs personnel in violent incidents. The headquarters of Eastern Air Command (EAC), Director General Assam Rifles (DGAR), 101 Communication Area and Assam Regimental Centre are located in the spectacular hill station and the state capital Shillong, also called as the ‘Switzerland of the East'.

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh, the largest of the Seven Sisters States was created out of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1987 disputed international border with China in the north, Myanmar in the east, Bhutan in the west and Assam and Nagaland in the south with diverse ethnic population of Nagas in southeast, Monpa in the west, Tani in middle and Mishmi and Tai in the east with 26 major and 100 sub tribes. The Insurgency in state, involving multiple groups is a part of the larger northeastern insurgencies to destablise the region.

The miscreants due to proximity of international borders cross over to China, Bhutan and Myanmar for safety and hiding their arsenals. The state was subjected to Chinese invasion in 1962 at numerous places along the international border as they consider it as Chinese territory.

The National Liberation Council of Taniland (NLCT), an ethnic separatist group, was active along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border seek separate homeland often  operate along with larger NSCN elements seeking Greater Nagaland and talks are on with such dissident groups for peace and stability in this region.

Presently, Arunachal Pradesh does not have any local group and is affected by the spill-over insurgent groups of NSCN and ULFA in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts. Prime Minister Modi has asserted that the government is working with full force to make Arunachal Pradesh a major gateway to East Asia.


Tripura is the third-smallest state in the country, bordering states of Assam and Mizoram in the east and surrounded by Bangladesh (East Pakistan) on the other three sides adversely affecting its demography peace, progress, economy and tranquility. The large scale influx of Bangladeshis due to porous border forced pushing Tripuri tribal population to the hills as the politics, economy and administration in the state was dominated by the Bengali and immigrants creating the insurgency on ethnic lines as a Tribal versus Bengali conflict and many insurgent outfits like Tripura National Volunteers (TNV), National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) with varied demands but all wanting deportation of Bengalis and to fight against the Bengali outfit the United Bengali Liberation Front (UBLF) supported by Bengali dominated Communist party  with money, arms and ammunition using Bangladesh and ISI and other anti-Indian insurgent groups. Over all, Tripura remained peaceful as the activities of NLFT and ATTF were contained.

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Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFPSA)

This Act grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces to maintain public order in "disturbed areas’ from punitive action for any act done by them in good faith. It has more perceptional problem than the legal ones. The local police posts probably are involved in severe high handed in public dealings than the Army deployed in the counter insurgency operations but our leftists intellectual JNU educated friends and both print and electronic media, bureaucrats and politicians working, far away from remote insurgency inflicted areas, in air conditioned offices blow events out of proportion not realizing how can a soldiers fight in a disturbed area against armed insurgents with their hands tied behind their backs! If the area is NOT disturbed, the police and CPOs should tackle insurgency as law and order issue and the Army withdrawn and police should maintain the law and order situation.

But Knowing our corrupt and inefficient police playing second fiddle to the local political masters and bureaucrats that is seldom done and with aggravated security situation the Army is called in the aid of civil authorities to bring about normalcy, on a drop of a hat in deteriorating situation which was baby of the local police and administration. What needs to be done is reviewing certain provisions of the law to match prevailing realities. The Army must not protect the wrong doings, excesses or false encounters protecting human rights, notwithstanding soldiers perform the onerous tasks of national security compromising their personal safety and security and human rights violations by the ruthless armed militants/insurgents/terrorists often armed, funded and supported by hostile neighbouring country.

The human right activists must keep in mind the repeated killing and injuring of the security forces (SFs) personnel by the terrorists- for illustration only, the killing of 76 CRPF constables killed in Dantewada in Apr 2010 or the 40 CRPF constables in Pulwama in Feb 2019. There have been numerous such cases of brutally killings of the soldiers in J&K, naxal infested areas and the NE states by the insurgents.

Recently, the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya signed an agreement to resolve 50 years old border dispute and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) lifted AFPSA from certain areas of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland reduced the disturbed areas. Similarly, MHA is persuasive and pro-active with Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura states to resolve all their disputes amicably fast on the Assam- Meghalaya model, realizing the strategic and economic potentials of these states by laying emphasis on the industrial and the economic development, jobs creations and preserving tribal culture as part of national integration. Normalcy in the region will motivate insurgents to surrender, and gradually keep lifting the much disliked AFPSA from the region and play decisive role in country’s ‘Look East Policy’.

Concluding Remarks

On the onset, I very modestly and humbly say, I missed university education as I got selected for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in June 1962. Notwithstanding that, while every military officer goes through rigorous professional training in the numerous armed forces finest training institutions that teach the best man management, human resource development and combat leadership skills molding young officers to  higher military leadership.

I too was lucky enough to pick PGDPM, MBA and MCA degrees through armed forces distant learning programmes. Lately, while going through a book on the Northeast, I was saddened by the author of the book who is part of the JNU Jhola carrying Brigade completely brainwashed with already disappearing leftist Communist ideology and socialism and keeps glorifying human right violations of the terrorists and insurgents from Kashmir, Punjab Naxal belt and the Northeast, notwithstanding the fact that JNU has produced numerous distinguished scholars, administrators, historians, scientists, film directors and diplomats likes of DP Tripathi, Sitaram Yechury, Jairus Banaji freethinkers like Nirmala Sitharaman or politically engaged toppers like S Jaishankar, Abhijit Banerjee or the recent firebrand Kanhaiya Kumar.

But no student should forget the fact that despite the Left, Right or Centre ideology, the only cause the students join any institution is ‘academics’  and students should NOT be allowed to subvert and sabotage that, which sadly is supported  by powerful faculty lobbies. This, sadly should NOT be permitted in any institution of learning. According to former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as quoted in the Indian Express dated 25 Apr 2022, freedom of expression is ‘vital part of democracy’ so long as it does not cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’. If country goes by the JNU thought process, each ethnic/tribal group should have total autonomy/state/country and with this process perhaps we will end up having more states in the Northeast than the 565 princely states country had at the time of independence.

Manipur is home to many medal-winning athletes. To name a few, Mary Kom, Dinko Singh, Kunjarani Devi, Sarita Devi, Sanjita Chanu, Devendro Singh, Mirabai Chanu, etc brought international glory to our country. India played the first-ever Football World Cup in the under 17 World Cup with 8 players from Manipur and 1 from Mizoram. In 1999, Manipur held the National games and managed to produce many quality players. Hima Das shocked the world by winning the 400m race in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dipa Karmakar is one of the only five women who have successfully landed the Produnova in Gymnastics. Sports and sportsmanship by itself are the biggest national integration factor to wean the region of from insurgency.

The central and governments in all the northeastern states accelerated efforts towards economic, industrial and infrastructural development, education, health care and preserving and protecting tribal culture and way of living.  Focus is on integration of different schemes like sanitation, panchayati raj, forest departments, minor irrigation an ideal ‘Gram Swaraj’ as advocated by Mahatma Gandhi. With economic and political stability, terrorists will get isolated and either perish or surrender and gradually, AFPSA will be removed and region fully integrates with the mainstream.

Let us hope that India becomes the only ‘geo-cultural country’ in the world as the rest of the world is ‘geo-political’ as recently reiterated by Union Home Minister Shah. But this could be a distant dream with hyper religious polarisation over the usage of loudspeakers, reciting Hanuman Chalisa or demolishing places of worship of Hindus or Muslims that are being sadly witnessed these days blasted 24x7 on all the national TV channels. Like Southern Indian states, Northeastern states also resent Hindi imposition on the masses. This fact must me borne in mind during peace negotiations.

About The Author

Col NN Bhatia, popularly known as Nini Bhatia was commissioned in 13 Kumaon & commanded 2 Kumaon (Berar), one of the oldest Indian Army Battalions. Retired in Sept 1995 after 32 years of distinguished service, and spent eight years in the Intelligence Bureau he is a die-hard Kumaoni & has penned five books- Kumaoni Nostalgia, Industrial & Infrastructure Security in two volumes, biography of another die hard Kumaoni mountaineer of international fame- 'Soldier Mountaineer' and Coffee Table Book ‘Reminiscing Battle of Rezang La’. He is prolific writer & has been columnist with the 'Lahore Times', 'Turkey Tribune,' AGNI, Fauji India & numerous magazines/journals.

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