Insurgency hurdle to NE development: says Simon Wilson

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Guwahati, Jan 28 (UNI) British Deputy High Commissioner to Eastern India Simon Wilson today stressed the need to fight insurgency in North East for the region, already faced with natural challenges, to move up the ladder of development.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day workshop on 'Identity and Development: Twin Challenges in India's Northeast,' organised by the Centre for Development and Peace Studies (CDPS), Guwahati, and supported by British Deputy High Commission, Kolkata.

Mr Wilson said, 'The Northeastern part of India faces various natural challenges, including its rugged geography, which makes infrastructural development projects and connectivity difficult. The last thing the region needs is conflict, which it has unfortunately been dealing with for decades.

He also underscored the cooperation the UK has pledged to India to combat terrorism in a joint manner, with initiative started by Tony Blair being taken forward by present UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, in his address, also emphasised on resolving conflict thorough dialogue.

While stating that conflict was the sign of a living society, Mr Gogoi added that the means adopted to address the conflict should be democratic and peaceful.

He identified rapid development as a means of combating insurgency in the region and urged greater participation at all levels to achieve it.

The chief minister also launched a website of the CDPS, a non-profit organization set up in 2003 and engaged in research and writings on the issues relating to peace, development and security in India's NE.

Eminent scholars from within and outside the region would deliberate and debate over the two days on the issues of nationalism, identity, governance and development of the region.

UNI SG KK RN1642

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