ITRANAGAR- Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh organized an online national webinar on 18th October, 2021. The theme of the webinar was ‘ISSUES AND CHALLENGES OF NATIONAL SECURITY IN INDIA’S NORTH-EAST’.
The Department of National Security Studies and Institute of Distance Education, RGU was the collaborating departments in the conduct of the program. The webinar saw an overwhelming amount of registration crossing the 500 mark. The webinar shared equal amount of enthusiasm with 100 participants joining via the official webinar platform and around 200 participants joining through the YouTube live stream.
The program opened with the welcome address by Prof. P.K Panigrahi, HoD, Department of National Security Studies to all the resource persons and participant from across the country. He also discussed about the various challenges faced by the states of North East and emphasized on the external threat from the hostile neighbors and internal insurgent groups in North East.
Prof. P.A. Ghosh, Organising Secretary and Faculty of Dept. National Security Studies (NSS), Rajiv Gandhi University, gave the opening remarks to the webinar by citing the changing concept of National Security Studies beyond traditional concept of security. He further stated that the North East region is vital for internal security. It poses numerous challenges to the security of the nation. A permanent solution should be found out for to deal with the pertaining issues in the region.
Dr. N.T. Rikam, Registrar, Rajiv Gandhi University, emphasized on the relevance of this topic specially in the context of North East India, he also spoke about the aspects of security and the concern of local people, their ethos, culture, tradition and emotion must be taken into consideration, without which sometimes misunderstanding erupt amongst indigenous people in a border region.
Prof. Amitava Mitra, Pro VC, Rajiv Gandhi University, talked about the relevance of the topic in context of India’s North East, due to number of reasons. North East India constitutes only around 8% of the geography of India but 33% of international border out of which Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim shares the highest number of borders with three countries each. He also spoke about external and internal challenges, the trans-border terrorist activities, separatist challenges and how this effecting the overall socio-economic development of this region.
The technical session began with a lecture by Prof. Prashant Agarwal, former HoD, Dept of Defense & Strategic Studies, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. He emphasized on security and development issues in North East India, with special reference to Arunachal Pradesh. He also spoke on how multiplying manifold of the undocumented migrants in the region add to the problem and the migrations are influenced by both pull and push factors. He also focused on the importance of cooperation from neighboring states. He was of the view that trust building measures should be taken up with all the bordering states of Arunachal Pradesh. “NGOs can play a crucial role to bridge this issue”, he added. He also highlighted on how the magic of economic development should not be seen as the solution to all problems.
Prof. Kamal Kinger, Dept. of Defence & Strategic Studies, Punjab University, who was the second speaker of the technical session, began by highlighting the problem of lack of physical and cultural link faced by the North Eastern states which stimulated the feeling of alienation. He also focused on materializing policies like Act East Policy and platforms like BHIMSTEC. He talked about three major areas of internal and external problems such as militancy, extremism and insurgency. Putting a greater importance on the prospects and immediate measures he cited some steps like enhancement of communication, connectivity infrastructure, cultural interaction, improving administrative efficacy and a comprehensive dealing with the internal security issues faced in the northeastern region.
Major Gen. (Retd) S.C. Mohanty (AVSM), Security Advisor to Government of Arunachal Pradesh, started his session by saying that national security is a very wide canvas and it cannot be devolved only to the North East India. He cited historical and evolutionary realities since the time of independence and the contemporary internal, regional and global environment. He also spoke about the peculiarities of North East India ranging from divergent historical experience, terrain, socio-economic development, ethnicity, etc. He enlightened the audience about the various internal and external threats faced by North East India, he also cited how neighboring countries like China, Myanmar and Bangladesh influence the region. He also focused on the prevailing .situation regarding internal threats and also made certain recommendations. He focused on the various peace accords that have been signed between the insurgent factions operating in the northeastern region and the government of India. He also elaborated how the foreign fundamentalist outfits pose a challenge to the security of the north east India in particular and India at large.
“National security is not the sole responsibility of the armed forces, it is something which has to be a combined effort of each and every citizen of the nation”, said, Prof. Saket Khuswaha, VC, Rajiv Gandhi University. Recognizing this fact will resolve most of the issues that we face in the context of security. He also said that the media has a crucial role to play in this regard. Thus, the images they project in their news channels also have to be carefully though of such that a proper narrative of positivity and brotherhood is inculcated amongst the citizens of the nation.
The program ended with the vote of thanks by Dr. Arvind Kumar Kushwaha, Faculty of Dept NSS, Rajiv Gandhi University.