Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday claimed insurgencies in the North East had “considerably reduced”. He made the remark during his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat. This was the prime minister’s first radio address of the year and the 61st edition of his programme.

The prime minister pointed out that 644 militants from eight banned outfits had surrendered their weapons this week in the city of Guwahati in Assam.

“Those who had strayed towards the path of violence, have expressed their faith in peace and decided to become a partner in the country’s progress and return to the mainstream,” Modi told the audience. “Last year, in Tripura as well, more than 80 people left the path of violence and returned to the mainstream. Those who had picked up weapons thinking that violence could solve problems, now firmly believe that the only way to solve any dispute is peace and togetherness.”

The prime minister said the region’s problems were being “honestly and peacefully solved through dialogue”. He urged people to resolve problems through dialogue. “Have you ever heard of a place where life has turned better due to violence?” Modi asked. “Have you ever heard of a place where peace and goodwill have been impediments in the quest of a good life? Violence never resolves any issue. No problem in the world can be solved by creating another problem. It can only be solved by seeking an optimal solution.”

The prime minister also spoke about the Gaganyaan mission. He said the mission would be a historic achievement in the field of science and technology for India. Modi also highlighted the government’s efforts to conserve water, and spoke about the third Khelo India Games.