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January 23, 2018

Northeast India consisting of eight states: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura; occupies a distinctive place primarily due to its social, cultural, political, geographical and historical features resulting in lack of uniformity, integration and assimilation. As unified it is in conflict ridden issues like ethnic unrest, insurgency, and illegal immigration; there exist wide intra-regional disparities in socio-economic issues. The Northeast of India is endowed with huge untapped natural resources and is acknowledged as the eastern gateway of India’s Look-East Policy.

‘Strangers no More’, a book by award winning journalist and Director of Commonwealth Human Rights initiative, Sanjoy Hazarika examines the old and new struggles, contemporary trends and the sweeping changes that have taken place in the Northeast Indian region over 20 years ago. It throws light on various ordinary as well as extraordinary aspects of the region, those which make the region so strategically important not only to the nation but to South East Asia as a whole.

In this book, he speaks about ” The extraordinary reality of Northeast India- a triangular shape of land wedged between Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Tibet- is that it has longer borders with its neighbours than kit has with India. Nearly 96 per cent of the region’s borders are with other countries; only 4 per cent of the border is connected to the rest of India. Thus, its physical links with India, not to speak of other connections, are limited and its proximity to other countries is far greater…”

This clearly shows the importance of the region in terms of not only economic and trade relations but also in the political context to the nation. The need for India to lay more emphasis on the region simply lies in the fact that this place is a gateway to South East Asia and it can very well be imagined what benefits the region can bring id properly developed.

Shillong News Desk

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