Make New Roads to East
- Positive overtures by the Government of India will not only improve the security situation in the northeastern states, but also reassure the locals and kickstart the stalling economic outreach to the east.
Situation in Myanmar
- There are reliable reports of the strengthening of the People’s Defence Force, with the support of various ethnic militias.
- There is no sign of the restoration of normalcy.
- Militants in Myanmar and India seem to be reorganizing themselves.
- With the present dispensation in Myanmar, the Act East policy is going nowhere.
- It has retarded development in the Northeast.
- The retarded development has led to resurgence in anti-India posturing in the region.
- Reports of meddling by Chinese intelligence in supporting these militant groups are of concern.
Fresh look needed - The following is recommended :
Favorable bilateral relations with Bangladesh
- It offers an opportunity for opening a new axis of land-sea connectivity for promoting trade and commerce with Southeast Asia.
- There is a need to upgrade the multitude of land routes to the seaports of Mongla and Chittagong in Bangladesh, from Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.
The land gateway to SouthEast Asia
- There should be no dilution in our initiatives to ensure that peace and stability return to Myanmar at the earliest.
- For this, there is a need for continued engagement, both formal and informal, with the warring factions in Myanmar.
Appropriate infrastructure Development
- Infrastructure such as container depots, cold storage facilities and seamless highways will have to be developed on a war footing.
- Indian manufactured goods will have to be transported to the rail/roadheads in the Northeast like Guwahati for ready access to the seaports of Bangladesh.
Empowered group for monitoring and facilitating projects
- There is a need to raise an empowered department for monitoring and facilitating projects that support India’s Act East policy.
- The group should be transcending all critical Ministries like Home, External Affairs, Industry, Surface-River Transport, etc.
Integrated defence zones
- To defang the strike capability of the insurgent groups there is a need to create “integrated defence zones”.
- These should be jointly manned by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) and the Indian Army/Assam Rifles.
- This force should dominate the 16-km belt of the “free move regime” on the Myanmar side of the border.
- Such a forward engineering exercise would not only enhance security but also provide sustenance to the locals and promote goodwill.
- To enthuse dynamism and empower the Assam Rifles, there is a need to retain its current structure of being officered by the Indian Army, as it ensures systemic command and control.
- This force needs to be mandated to undertake intelligence operations for greater transparency of the events within Myanmar.
The Act East policy is intertwined with India’s Northeast policy:
- The dismal scenario of Myanmar should not impede our vision for the actualisation of our ambitious Act East to go East, as alternates exist.
- To that end, there is a need to ensure the continued economic development of Northeastern states.
- Positive overtures by the Government of India will not only improve the security situation but reassure the locals that the region’s interest is paramount and kickstart the stalling economic outreach to the east.
- Locations based questions