India has used various developmental interventions to find a resolution for several existing and protracted internal conflicts that India is plagued with since independence. But they have proved to be insufficient in tacking the issues in a reasonable time frame. Discuss.

India is a diverse and multi-cultural country, with coexistence of various religions, cultures, ethnicities & languages. This may give rise to internal security threats at times, as seen in case of Tamil Sri Lankan & Naxal conflicts.

Existing and Protracted internal conflicts:

  • Communalization, e.g. Babri Masjid issue
  • Law & order problems, e.g. Mob-lynching
  • Naxalism
  • Insurgency along border areas
  • Demands for regional autonomy, e.g. Nagaland

Developmental interventions for conflict resolution:

  • Reduce regional disparities for balanced economic growth, e.g. Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand creation to pacify demands.
  • Reduced alienation among remote & excluded regions, e.g. Aspirational districts programme in naxal districts.
  • Investments in health & education infrastructure – informed citizenary, reduced radicalization, e.g. Interventions in Manipur & Meghalaya.
  • Socio-Economic development – Restoration of social contract & trust in government.

Development interventions alone however cannot play a defining role, as:

  • It is time consuming process with high gestation period for results.
  • Advanced nature of threats to internal security.
  • Violent approaches by insurgents.
  • Disruption of developmental infrastructure, as in Naxal areas.

Measures needed:

  • Greater and effective decentralization of powers, e.g. 5th and 6th schedule of constitution, PESA Act – to make them stakeholders in growth process.
  • Security interventions to re-establish law & order and governance deficit.
  • Policing models based on community participation, e.g. community policy in Meghalaya.
  • Upgraded border security infrastructure, e.g. drones, smart walls, CBMS, against newer forms of threat.
  • Investment in technological upgradation to prevent damage to security personnel.

A judicious mix of soft & hard measures, based on community trust is needed for resolution of conflicts, both current and protracted.

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