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Rio calls for ‘right steps’ to peace

Kohima, Nov. 28: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has urged the people of the Northeast to understand the “realities and difficulties of the Centre” in resolving many issues.

Addressing a general conference of the North East Students’ Organisation (Neso) today, Rio said the Centre is following a welcome policy of ceasefire, dialogue and peace agreements with insurgent groups in some pockets of the region. He urged the people to be reasonable in their approach to hammer out solutions to the issues.

“The government of India must have the will to resolve the political issues; at the same time the people of the region, too, must understand the ground realities,” Rio said.

According to him, there are reasons to believe that many of the problems have been created by the people of the region. “I have said it before and I will say it again and it may be politically incorrect to say so, but the sad truth is that insurgency has become the most lucrative industry and business in the region,” Rio said.

Taking serious note of the influx of illegal immigrants, Rio appreciated Neso for standing for the rights of the people. He said the people of the region were facing threat of being outnumbered by illegal immigrants which would ultimately change the demography. He said such a scenario would vitiate the rich culture and threaten the heritage.

Rio said the Northeast had become crucial and strategic in the multiple aspects of security, trade, commerce and connectivity and was the gateway to Asean countries and the Indian sub-continent.

He said the time had come for the region to realise the need for economic independence, adding that the region needs sustainable development backed by stable economic policies and programmes.

“Our natural resources of oil and minerals have the potential to bring economic boom and we need to constantly improve the capacity and calibre of our competent human resources,” Rio said.

He said people of the region are yet to understand that they are living in an area that has the potential to become one of the most important regions in the world. He urged the Centre to realise that the region is on the verge of becoming one of the country’s most important assets on all fronts.

“First and foremost we must resolve outstanding political issues and bring political stability to the region. Resolution of political conflicts and subsequent containment of insurgencies will ensure political stability and prevalence of peace and security,” the chief minister said.

Rio said this would create an environment that is congenial to infrastructure development and investments that would equip the region to facilitate international trade and commerce.

Rio also said that the Centre should also understand that outstanding political issues need to be addressed across the table adding that a country cannot declare war on its own people.

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According to him, the government must win the confidence of the people through democratic means and progressive policies.