Alex Waterman

Three Narratives of Connectivity, Development and Insurgency in Northeast India: Analysis and Implications

Global Policy-Observer Research Foundation Series | 2022

  • Abstract

    Assessments of the relationship between trade, connectivity, and development between Northeast India and the wider Bay of Bengal region on the one hand, and the security imperatives of Northeast India on the other can vary significantly depending on the interpretive framework drawn upon. Building a cross-border road, for example, may be viewed as an opportunity to usher in connectivity, development, and prosperity. Equally, it may be viewed as a security threat, enabling hostile actors to navigate otherwise difficult terrain, or indeed as an opportunity to extend the reach of security forces into far-flung regions. For some, the road may represent a business opportunity, but for others denotes the threat of extractive, imposed forms of development. In each of these, distinct narratives provide the interpretive framework through which the act of roadbuilding is understood. The narratives shaping these interpretations are important; they tell different causal stories of conflict in the region, rooted in very distinct understandings of what concepts like connectivity, development, and security mean and how they relate to one another. Crucially, they can generate very different recommendations about how conflict in India’s Northeast might be solved and how development and prosperity can best be ushered in, meaning they have very real policy implications.
    This paper analyses three narratives of security, connectivity, and development in Northeast India as it relates to the wider Bay of Bengal region. Although elements of these narratives often appear alongside one another, the narratives themselves are distinct in the way they conceptualise the relationship between security, development, and connectivity. This has a bearing on how they tell the causal story of the conflict, analyse its dynamics, and propose policy responses.


    Erschienen in

    Situating India’s Northeast in the Bay of Bengal Regional Architecture


    Anasua Basu Ray Choudhury

    Ambar Kumar Ghosh


    Global Policy-Observer Research Foundation Series


    Observer Research Foundation (ORF)






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