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India's Northeast: The Frontier in Ferment

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Prakash Singhs monograph on the threat that insurgencies in northeast India present to the national government provides an excellent insight into a significant security challenge to the Indian state. The troubles in the eight northeastern states highlighted in this work are frequently overlooked in the West when people assess Indias security concerns, which often focus on Pakistan and China. This work clearly elevates the fractious northeastern region as a region of concern and challenge for the central government. Upon the modern Indian states independence from the British Empire in 1947, the members of the tribes and ethnic groups in the northeast clamored for various degrees of autonomy. The underlying factors behind these issues and desires are the differences between the regions citizens and the majority of the Indian populace. The northeasts citizens differ in ethnicity, religion, and culture from mainstream India and for some of them, independence just transferred colonial rule from the British to the Indians. From the central governments perspective, it is paramount to maintain control of this geo-strategic region that borders upon the Peoples Republic of China and, until 1971, its archrival Pakistan. However, Indias perspective on needing to maintain control of all its territory cannot separate the northeasts call for independence or autonomy from other areas, most notably the Jammu and Kashmir region. If India were to relent and grant independence to any of the northeastern states, it could open the floodgates for a deluge of forces that challenge the central government. The government of India was fashioned and envisions itself as a secular, parliamentary, democratic state. How India accommodates minorities and can reach accommodation with insurgents is a critical element for long-term regional stability and is of critical concern to the United States and the international community.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Humanities and History
  • Unconventional Warfare

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