Due to its strategic geopolitical location, Northeast is a highly sensitive region sharing over 2,000 km of border with Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh and connected to the rest of India by a narrow 20-km wide corridor of land.
Isolation coupled with economic backwardness despite great potential has caused much frustration among the people, particularly the youths. Today, the lack of development has become a highly emotive issue vis-à-vis Indian democracy. The region has become a fertile recruiting ground for separatist groups fighting for causes ranging from autonomy to independence.
Recent years have also seen the growth of conflicting demands for independent homelands between various ethnic groups, which have resulted in ethnic clashes and much bloodshed.
The separatists find easy shelter across the borders in Burma, Bangladesh and Bhutan, particularly in the remote hill regions.
The peaceful people of the region do not condone violence in any form. They know violence has no role to play in pursuing political demands. It is not surprising that most separatist groups have failed to win over people they are allegedly fighting for demonstrating people’s revulsion to violence. After years of bloody campaigns, people are tired and desperate for peace.
Today, encouragingly, civil society groups in the region are more active than ever before. They are playing a leading role in initiating dialogues and sustaining the peace process. The government has taken initiatives to accelerate economic development and opened dialogues with many of these groups to politically resolve causes of grievances and conflicts.