Postfrontier Blues: Toward a New Policy Framework for Northeast India

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About the Publication

A number of armed conflicts smolder in India's Northeastern border region. For instance, the Naga rebellion, which began in the 1950s, is one of the world's oldest unresolved armed conflicts. With its controversial human rights record and sluggish economic growth, Northeast India is a counterpoint to India's new image as a mature democracy, dynamic economy, and emerging major power. The World Bank describes conditions in the region as a low-level equilibrium of poverty, nondevelopment, civil conflict, and lack of faith in political leadership.
          Northeast India's history as a frontier, and the inattention of policymakers to contradictions rooted in this context, explain the deficits of democracy, development, and peace. Counterinsurgency operations, massive infusion of development funds, and a variety of conflict management tactics have only nutured the multiple low-intensity conflicts. This study proposes a democratic institution-building agenda that is sensitive to the particular dynamics of change in this "postfrontier". In a historically sparsely populated region with long-term trends of demographic transformation, managing indigenous-settler tensions must be a priority. This and other challenges cannot be addressed through domestic policy alone. An effective alternative policy must have a transnational dimension; to turn the region's extensive international borders--with China's Tibet region, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Burma--from militarized zones of mistrust and confrontation to spaces of cooperation.
          The Policy Studies series is published by the East-West Center. Available exclusively from ISEAS for distribution in Asia.


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Postfrontier Blues: Toward a New Policy Framework for Northeast India

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