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Via Bangladesh



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Its all well and good to denounce insurgency as anti-national. But how does
one get that feeling? Its not automatic. For isntance (I am sure many can
relate to this): When a student from the NorthEast comes to the big city for
studies (since they don't have unis to speak of) they are discrimated
against and how. By all and sundry. Furthermore they are shocked at the
amount of  progress (and the lower cost of goods)in these other parts,
thereby adding officialdom to their list of discrimators. And these are the
smarter kids from their region. Needless to say, when these future leaders
go back to their areas, they don't believe they live in the same country at
all.

The Northeast insurgencies are rooted in economic deprivation. These areas
don't have much clout in Delhi. Some perceive the reason to be
institutionalized racism but it seems to just be same old incompetence, lack
of vision, and very tricky geography. It is this last aspect I am interestd
in thinking about.

It seems really hard to do any trade/development work, when you have to go
around another country. A plane ticket from Calcutta to Manipur is less than
the first class train ticket for the same!
Obviously If we had better relations with Bangladesh that could at the very
least reduce the cost of development and goods in the N.E. The opposition in
BD is against stronger with india. But this does not seem to be the attitude
of the people.

My father has worked a little in BD and says that most items there are
smuggled from India and sold at double to quadruple of what you pay in India
(now just imagine what it is even further east). Total strangers would
strike up conversations with him and ask if he could supply mosquito coils.
By the way they did not want anything from Calcutta I don't know why??
probably because thats where all the smuggled stuff comes thru.
He also worked in Manipur for a bit and he noticed that govt officials while
cooperating w/ militants, are doing so under the force of the gun. In this
case I don't know what president's rule is going to change.

None of these observations are new or improved but any N.E. experts here?
Does anyone have any pointers on what the govt is doing as far as improving
ties and trade with BD?

-Thanks,
Rakesh Raju




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