Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that the National Democratic Alliance government wants to make Northeast India a hub for trade with Southeast Asian countries. However, the Union minister emphasised that peace must prevail in the Northeast region for that to be achieved. Singh was addressing a Sainik Sammelan on the occasion of the 181st Raising Day of Assam Rifles in Shillong, Meghalaya. He further said that “fast-paced development of the Northeast” was the government's priority, adding that the region has not yet seen the kind of development it deserved, even after nearly seven decades of independence, PTI reported.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader lauded the Assam Rifles – the oldest paramilitary force in the country – for its efforts to ensure peace in the Northeast. The Centre is in talks with a number of insurgent groups, including the Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah-led faction of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland and the United Liberation Front of Asom. “We are ready for talks with anyone who gives up violence,” Singh said, adding that insurgency in the Northeast had dropped 30% in the last year. While ULFA is in favour of talks, several outfits including the SS Khaplang-led NSCN, People’s Liberation Army of Manipur and the Paresh Baruah-led faction of ULFA are against any kind of negotiation.