security : IR : How-can-Northeast-India-be-developed
Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
Leave alone the government. Do we commoners know what is going on in the Northeast? Do we follow their elections and know their leaders? For instance, the interesting dynamics in many of these states is that they constantly flip flop between a regional party [such as Mizo National Front, Nagaland People's Front, United Demoratic Party of Meghalaya] and the Indian National Congress.
Since we don't know about their politcs and don't care about it, our leaders don't either. Thus, the priorities of the region often rank low. Politically, the six states other than Assam just send 10 MPs to the Parliament & thus national leaders don't take the region seriously.
Tap the Human Power with Service Sector
Northeast ranks among the top in literacy rates. 92% of the Mizos & 88% of the Tripuris are literate. There is a widespread English literacy too. The six states other than Assam also rank significantly high in Human Development Indicators [HDI]. Their sex ratios are healthy too.
Despite all that, we don't work hard enough to make Northeast India our service capital. With over 90% literacy rates, low wages, why can't India push significantly for more tech companies there? Create a range of tech parks & push a sizable chunk of government's IT work there. That would create a lot of local employment and get the youth off the streets.
In many regions of the Northeast, a sort of martial law is permanently enforced. Although, it has some justification due to the separatist movements, Indian government has to take a bold move to bring down a part of powers & eventually treat them like any other state in India.
Instead of the local police, it is the army that is calling shots. That is a disagrace for any mature democracy. When an army is used domestically that is an indication of rot. While they might be used of temporary emergencies, having them for decades is unaccetable.
If you put the unemployed youth to work, most of the separatism would vanish. Both in the case of Naxals & North east separatists, the core issue is one of socioeconomic factors – jobs, land reforms & social mobility. Let's fix that first.
Put relationship with Bangladesh & Myanmar on high priority
For the rest of the Indians, Bangladesh & Myanmar are not really the priority. We need little from them. However, this region is almost completely surrounded by these two. That means India should get bolder in cutting deals with these two countries. For instance, maybe we can give BD more Ganga water coming via Farakkha Barrage & lesser trade barriers in return for BD allowing India to transport goods across or having a tighter lid over their emigrants? If we see the region as a high priority zone, we can identify more deals that would benefit both Northeast & Indias's neighbors.
More details here:
China is doing a lot of steps to rebuild its own northeast [that is lagging behind the rest of China in development] by bringing in friends [Korea], rivals [Japan, Mongolia] and neutrals [Russia].
This is what India should do.