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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The transformative journey of Northeast India

The northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura are intricately woven with the borders of neighboring nations like Bhutan, China, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. This unique geographical positioning has bestowed upon the region a diverse and vibrant cultural heritage, often depicted as ‘Suvarnabhumi’ in ancient scriptures, symbolizing a land of immense wealth and prosperity.

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(PM Narendra Modi’s Visionary Leadership)

By: Dipak Kurmi

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The northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura are intricately woven with the borders of neighboring nations like Bhutan, China, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. This unique geographical positioning has bestowed upon the region a diverse and vibrant cultural heritage, often depicted as ‘Suvarnabhumi’ in ancient scriptures, symbolizing a land of immense wealth and prosperity.

As history’s pages find their stillness, an extraordinary saga unfolds, chronicling the transformation of India’s Northeast under the enlightened guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Central to this story is the rejuvenation of a region once relegated to the sidelines, now experiencing a rebirth through comprehensive development initiatives and the promotion of social cohesion.

In the latest literary offering titled “Modi’s North East Story,” authored by Tuhin A. Sinha, the national spokesperson of BJP, and Aditya Pittie, an angel investor, a guiding light shines upon the transformative path embarked upon. This literary creation isn’t merely finding acclaim within India but is striking a chord deeply within the Indian diaspora. It stands as a testament to the rise of 47 million citizens from Northeast India as the forefront of India’s revival.

Under the stewardship of the Modi administration, a profound respect and sensitivity towards the culture, identity, and dignity of the Northeastern populace have been demonstrated. Through a framework of dialogue, development, and democratic engagement, the government has diligently addressed the grievances and aspirations of the region’s people. Various peace talks and accords have facilitated the surrender of militants, leading to their rehabilitation. Moreover, the establishment of autonomous councils for different tribal groups, alongside the strategic removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from several districts, signifies tangible progress. Additionally, concerted efforts have been made to mitigate border conflicts, exemplified by the successful signings of significant peace accords such as the Karbi, Assam Adivasi, Dimasa, and Bodo Peace Accords, underscoring the government’s enduring impact on the region.

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Fueled by a commitment to peace and progress, the Northeast region is experiencing an unprecedented surge in infrastructure development, catalyzing a remarkable improvement in living standards. Rapid infrastructure expansion along border areas has significantly uplifted remote districts. Notably, the Northeast has seen a substantial increase in airports, rising from nine to 16, with flight numbers nearly doubling since 2014. Moreover, some states in the region have been integrated into India’s railway network for the first time, with efforts underway to enhance waterway transportation. Concurrently, efforts to resolve longstanding conflicts and enhance law enforcement have attracted a record influx of tourists. Prime Minister Modi’s strategic shift from the ‘Look East Policy’ to the proactive ‘Act East Policy’ has unlocked new avenues for trade and collaboration, positioning the Northeast as a vital gateway to Southeast Asia. With improved connectivity and strategic partnerships, the region emerges as a key driver of regional integration and economic prosperity. Notably, Prime Minister Modi’s unparalleled engagement with the Northeast, marked by approximately 60 visits in nine years, has ushered in a remarkable transformation, earning acclaim as a model of development under his leadership.

In addition to prioritizing infrastructure and economic growth, Prime Minister Modi has shown a steadfast commitment to preserving and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Northeast. By championing the diverse traditions, languages, and customs of the region, he has not only reinforced social cohesion but has also elevated the Northeast’s profile on the world stage. Through his frequent visits to the region and strategic endeavors, Prime Minister Modi has laid the foundation for sustained progress and prosperity, ensuring that the unique identity of the Northeast continues to flourish.

The Northeast’s economic resurgence is underscored by notable indicators, including a significant rise in GDP and trade, alongside a notable reduction in insurgency and improved connectivity. The collective GDP of Northeastern states has more than doubled, soaring from 2.97 lakh crore to 6.81 lakh crore, while their contribution to India’s GDP has climbed from 2.6 percent to 2.9 percent between 2013–14 and 2021–22. Remarkably, the region has witnessed several long-awaited milestones in recent years. After nearly six decades since Nagaland gained statehood, the national anthem echoed within the Nagaland Assembly for the first time on February 21, 2021. Similarly, the playing of the national anthem in the Tripura Assembly on March 23, 2018, marked a historic occasion following the formation of the BJP government in the state. Furthermore, for the first time since independence, Prime Minister Modi’s administration has prioritized development and employment generation in the remotest border villages through the innovative Vibrant Village Programme, symbolizing a paradigm shift towards inclusive growth.

In contrast to previous Indian prime ministers who maintained the status quo, Prime Minister Modi consistently ventures into uncharted territory. Social justice and rectifying historical injustices are paramount for the Modi administration, whether at the individual or regional level. The Northeast region now boasts its highest-ever representation in the Union Council of Ministers, with two cabinet ministers and three ministers of state, including the first-ever inclusion of a Member of Parliament from Tripura. Over time, flagship cultural events like Nagaland’s Hornbill Festival and Manipur’s Sangai Festival have evolved into national attractions, drawing visitors from across the country. These initiatives embody a commitment to inclusivity and progress, aligning with Prime Minister Modi’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (Together with all, Development for all). (The writer can be reached at dipakkurmiglpltd@gmail.com)

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