Northeast India, situated as the easternmost part of the country, holds a unique position due to its proximity to five neighbouring nations: Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, and Nepal. This region, consisting of eight states, faces a challenging geography that includes a narrow and tenuous land corridor of just 22 kilometres connecting it to the rest of India. Despite this, it has been labelled as the most volatile and insurgency-affected area in the country, second only to Kashmir.

Root Causes of Insurgencies:

  • Historical Absence of Integration: The hill areas of former Assam lacked historical linkages with the rest of British India, fostering cultural and political disparities among ethnic communities.
  • Example: This disconnect led to feelings of alienation among various ethnic groups, fueling separatist sentiments.
  • Preference for Forceful Measures: Many ethnic communities perceive the use of force as a more effective method to gain attention from the distant central government, compared to non-violent dissent.
  • Example: Insurgent groups resort to violent activities to draw the government’s attention to their demands.
  • Economic Disparities: A continuous lack of economic opportunities drives unemployed youth toward armed movements, offering them a salary and purpose.
  • Example: Unemployment-driven insurgency has been a significant challenge in Manipur and Assam.
  • External Support: Insurgencies are perpetuated by external assistance from neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
  • Example: Militant groups find safe havens and logistical support across the borders, making it difficult for Indian security forces to eradicate them.
  • Opposition to Outsiders: Migration of outsiders into these states has stirred opposition among indigenous communities, who fear loss of identity and resources.
  • Example: The influx of non-tribal settlers in Tripura resulted in clashes between the indigenous tribal population and the migrant settlers.


  • Enhanced Connectivity and Infrastructure: Developing communication networks and improving infrastructure will better integrate the region with the mainland.
  • Example: The establishment of efficient road and rail links will facilitate trade and movement, promoting regional development.
  • Strengthened Legal Framework: Implementing stringent laws and a swift criminal justice system can ensure prompt handling of insurgent attack cases.
  • Example: Expedited trials and legal measures have proven effective in curbing insurgency-related violence in other conflict-prone regions.
  • Coordinated Security Response: Improved coordination between central and state security forces will enable more effective and timely responses to insurgent threats.
  • Example: Joint operations between different security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir have resulted in successful counterinsurgency operations.
  • Socio-economic Development and Cultural Interaction: Encouraging cultural exchange and holistic inclusive development will address underlying grievances.
  • Example: Initiatives promoting local arts, crafts, and traditions can generate income and foster pride among indigenous communities.
  • Administrative Reforms: Decentralization, efficient administration, and accommodating regional aspirations can help bridge the gap between the region and the central government.
  • Example: The creation of autonomous councils in Meghalaya and other states has empowered local governance, reducing discontent.
  • Targeted Use of Force: Employ specialized forces like Greyhound and Black Panthers for selective use of force, minimizing collateral damage.
  • Example: Specialized counterinsurgency units have effectively neutralized armed groups in states like Chhattisgarh.

Despite limited success, the government’s military interventions alone have not brought lasting stability to the region. The lack of development and attention from both national and international platforms continues to estrange the people of Northeast India. To achieve lasting peace, comprehensive strategies that encompass negotiations, de-radicalization, and socio-economic upliftment are imperative. The establishment of a dedicated ministry for the region’s development is a step forward, but sustained efforts are needed for meaningful progress and harmony.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish March 14, 2024