Mending fences: On Goodwill among northeastern states

Source: Indian express

Relevance: Assam-Mizoram dispute, its negative impact from regional, national and international perspective, steps that can be taken to resolve such disputes.

Synopsis: Border tensions between Assam and Mizoram have calmed down. We need to build upon the momentum and ensure that peace and order is maintained in the North East because the success of Act East policy rests on it.

Background
Steps taken 

Following steps have been taken till now to remedy the situation.

  1. Assam chief minister has sent two ministerial emissaries from Assam to Aizawl (Mizoram). Atul Bora, one of the ministers sent to Aizawl is from the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). Mizo National Front (MNF) has had good relations with the AGP.
  2. Deployment of neutral Central forces at the disputed stretches of the interstate border
  3. Withdrawal of the Assam government’s travel advisory which asked people not to travel to Mizoram.
Impact of confrontation
  1. Regional – rise in prices and shortage of commodities, impact on the entire supply chain, from producer to transporter and receiving customers/markets, impact on the investment in the region
  2. National – affect the public image of the North East in rest of India. Such instances erode the gains made in the past to achieve peace and security.
  3. International – impacts effective implementation of International policies like Act East.
What needs to be done?
  • Public engagement: Communities at the border, stakeholders such as business leaders and transporters as well as civil society need to be involved in conversations and dialogue for sustainable settlements.
  • Political leaders must take the lead and show the way. There will have to be give and take, to arrive at a common conclusion. That is the practical side, which politicians are best equipped to deliver.
  • A Development Corridor at the border through consensus from both states would be a welcome step. It will build on the natural advantages of the bordering states — vegetable, meat and fruit processing, handicrafts and designer handlooms & and create jobs, livelihoods and better incomes for people on the border and beyond, building an equitable supply chain

Conclusion

The visionary Act East Policy and its predecessor Look East Policy rest on the pillars of peace and trust, not just better roads and physical infrastructure. Peace and trust depend on good relationships between neighbors which is essential for economic cooperation, transport and trade not just cultural and social collaboration.

Terms to know

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