Problem In Northeast Will Remain Till It Develops Holistically: Army Chief Bipin Rawat

| February 22 , 2018 , 12:47 IST

People living in the Northeast states of India face several difficulties, discrimination on the basis of their slightly different looks, underdeveloped facilities and insurgency, despite the nation's attempts to integrate the states into the progress of the rest of India.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat addressing a seminar on 'North East Region of India — Bridging Gaps and Securing Borders', organised by the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies and Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff of the Ministry of Defence, highlighted the importance of holistic development.

"What we need to understand is, is the problem in the Northeast an identity problem? Is it a problem of development? Is it a problem of security? Or is it a problem with the demography that is happening there? I think it's all encompass, we have to look at this holistically," said General Rawat.

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"I think we have to understand, we got to appreciate to live with all the people that live in the region, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or sex. I think if we understand that, we can live together happily but the best part is to amalgamate the kind of people that are living there, than identifying the people trying to create trouble for us," he said.

 “We will have more trouble in segregating people, identifying people. Yes, some people have to be identified who are creating trouble for us, who are illegal immigrants. But as was brought out, the Muslim population actually started coming into Assam from 1218 to 1226, that was the first time that the Muslims actually entered Assam. We have to understand that they are not late arrivers, they are the early arrivers, came concurrently with the Ahoms. Both these people have claim to the state of Assam and, therefore, to the North-East region,” the Army chief added.

"Other issue is planned immigration taking place because of our western neighbour. They will always try and ensure that this area is taken over. This proxy dimension of warfare is well played by our western neighbour & supported by our northern neighbour," he said.

"Migration from Bangladesh is due to two reasons. One, they are running out of space. Large areas get flooded during the monsoon & they have constricted area to stay," General Rawat said.

"AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) have grown in a faster time-frame than the BJP grew over the years. When we talk of Jan Sangh with two MPs and where they have reached, AIUDF is moving at a faster pace in the state of Assam," he said.

President of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) M Badruddin Ajmal slammed the Army Chief's comments on the rise of AIUDF.

"Gen Bipin Rawat has made a political statement, shocking! Why is it a concern for the Army Chief that a political party, based on democratic and secular values, is rising faster than BJP? Alternative parties like AIUDF, AAP have grown because of the misgovernance of big parties," tweeted Badruddin.

"By making such statement, isn't the Chief of Army Staff indulging into politics which is against the constitutional mandate given to him," he added, tagging President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Watch Army Chief General Bipin Rawat's statement below: