The North East of India is one of the most diverse and colorful places in the world in terms of ethnic grouping as well as its cultures, languages spoken and the wealth of its natural resources. Some of the great rivers of India flow through this region, home to more than 300 ethnic groups which live in eight Indian states and four nations: China /Tibet, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Nepal is nearby and a narrow land corridor known as the Chicken’s Neck provides the only physical connection to India.
The eight states:
Indeed, 98 per cent of its total land border is with foreign countries. Only two per cent of the North East borders other Indian states. This geographical and historic isolation has meant that the natural bounty of the place has remained largely untapped. Underdevelopment, especially in the area of infrastructure, is widespread; ethnic divisions are common and deep-seated and there is an acute sense of alienation and hopelessness.
How are these concerns to be met? How can they be addressed both at the grassroots and at the policy making level? How can individuals and communities make a difference?
The Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES) has been established to develop strategies and policies that will address these concerns and seek to meet them. C-NES seeks to mobilise public opinion on issues relating to the North East across a broad range of areas: information, gender, human resources, civil society, culture and heritage, communications and connectivity as well as regional cooperation. It is envisioned that its primary role will be in the fields of concept development and field studies, as initiator, disseminator and articulator of information about and policies for the area.