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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

NE insurgents stand up to govt's Look East policy

Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 23, 2013
First Published: 12:32 IST(23/1/2013) | Last Updated: 12:35 IST(23/1/2013)

For the first time, leading insurgent groups from India's northeast have come out united against the government's much touted Look East policy.

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"The Look East policy has been designed primarily to serve the interests of the Indian comprador at our cost," said an e-mail comprising a solidarity statement by 11 insurgent outfits from Assam, Manipur and Tripura.

Naga insurgents were not signatories as they have signed ceasefire agreements with the Indian government.

The government's Look East policy seeks to focus on intensive economic ties with the East and South East Asian countries in place of the traditional Westward-looking model.

In such a scenario, the northeast region which has closer cultural ties with east and southeast Asian nations are expected to play a vital role.

It is believed that operational capability of the insurgent groups would be significantly affected if ideas under consideration under the Look East policy are implemented in toto which includes construction of huge transportation networks cutting across the densely forested tracts of north-east India and northern Myanmar.

Protected by forest cover and inaccessible terrain, these groups run guerrilla warfare training camps in these areas along the Indo-Myanmar border that train hundreds of young men and women hailing from the underdeveloped states of the region.

Accusing the government of investing heavily in militarization and policing as "seen in the cases of upgraded suppressive machineries such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC)", the insurgents have also tried to turn the table around by accusing the state's 'secret agents' of smuggling illegal drugs and planting poppy plants (for production of heroin) in the region so as top 'degenerate health and morale of the people.

For quite some time, the government has been accusing the insurgent groups of undertaking production of illicit poppy-based drugs and operating drug smuggling networks.


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