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“Frontier Naga Territory stands as a beacon of unity, resilience, and strategic foresight—a testament to the shared aspirations of the Naga communities on both sides of the border. In its creation lies the potential to counter external influences, strengthen regional security, and unlock a new era of economic prosperity. It is a powerful symbol of hope, bridging divides, and nurturing cultural heritage. As the Frontier Naga Territory emerges, it heralds the dawn of collaboration, connectivity, and collective progress—a shining example of how borders can be transcended to forge a brighter future for all.”

 

The Eastern Nagas have nurtured long-standing aspirations to actively contribute to the progress, advancement, growth and security of the nation. They also hold a deep-seated desire to preserve their distinct cultural and social identity while proudly embracing and cherishing their status as Indian citizens. They seek to reclaim their constitutional rights that they believe have been lost over time due to Nagaland state apathy, systematic-gross-criminal negligence of Kohima and fractured governance in the state of Nagaland. The establishment of Frontier Naga Territory presents an exceptional, unique opportunity to address these aspirations effectively, all the while countering the expanding influence of People’s Republic of China in the porous border region.

 

China’s interference in Myanmar poses a significant threat to India’s strategic interests and regional stability. The relationship between China and Myanmar has grown increasingly close in recent years, with China becoming Myanmar’s largest trading partner and investor. However, this close alliance comes with its own set of concerns for India. The Indo-Myanmar border region, particularly Eastern Nagaland, has become a strategic hotspot due to China’s increasing influence in the area. China’s economic and infrastructural projects in Myanmar have raised concerns about regional stability and security, prompting the need for a proactive approach to counter China’s influence.

 

Over the course of time, China’s presence and impact in the Indo-Myanmar border region have witnessed a notable growth. China has actively engaged in various economic and infrastructure ventures in Myanmar, thereby aggressively establishing a significant foothold that raises legitimate concerns regarding regional stability and security.

 

My ground zero observations and analysis tells that China’s strategic interests in Myanmar are primarily driven by its geopolitical ambitions. Myanmar’s strategic location, rich natural resources, and access to the Indian Ocean make it an important component of China’s broader regional strategy. China has invested heavily in infrastructure projects, such as the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which aims to enhance connectivity between China’s southwestern regions and Myanmar’s ports. China’s growing presence in Myanmar has broader implications for India’s strategic positioning in the region. China’s ultra-ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to create a network of infrastructure and connectivity projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe, with Myanmar serving as a crucial node in this ambitious plan. By establishing a strong foothold in Myanmar, China seeks to expand its influence and gain leverage in the region, which directly challenges India’s own strategic interests and regional aspirations. Furthermore, China’s military and strategic presence in the Indo-Pacific region, including its naval base in Djibouti, has raised serious concerns about its intentions and the potential encirclement of India. China’s efforts to establish a foothold in Myanmar and gain access to Myanmar’s ports and strategic locations raise apprehensions about its long-term objectives and potential threats to India’s land, air and maritime security.

 

China’s economic influence in Myanmar extends beyond infrastructure development. It has made substantial investments in Myanmar’s energy sector, including oil and gas pipelines that provide China with direct access to the Indian Ocean. These investments grant China significant leverage over Myanmar’s economy and political landscape, allowing it to exert influence and shape Myanmar’s decision-making processes.

 

Eastern Nagaland holds immense strategic significance due to its location along the ultra-sensitive Indo-Myanmar border. It serves as a crucial link between India and Southeast Asia, promoting regional connectivity and trade. The region’s proximity to Myanmar provides an opportunity for cross-border cooperation, but it also poses challenges in terms of security. China’s presence in Myanmar and its growing influence in the border region necessitate proactive measures to safeguard India’s interests and maintain regional stability.

 

One potential counter to ‘Attack of The Dragon’ is the creation of “Frontier Naga Territory”, a separate, economically self-sufficient, constitutionally unique administrative region in the state of Nagaland, with its unique governing mechanism that would address the aspirations and needs of the Eastern Nagas and also facilitate the creation of a positive and favorable environment on both sides of the border while effectively countering China’s growing presence. Through the creation of Frontier Naga Territory, India will have the necessary potential to effectively counterbalance China’s influence in the region. This strategic move would yield positive outcomes for the Nagas residing on both sides of the border, leading to several advantageous implications. By consolidating its position in the region, India would not only fortify its own standing but also guarantee the justice, security and welfare of the Nagas, thus serving as a pivotal development in the broader geopolitical landscape.

 

Frontier Naga Territory can serve as a strategic countermeasure against China’s growing influence in the Indo-Myanmar border region. By empowering the long neglected Eastern Nagas and providing them with their own platform to voice their concerns and aspirations, India can build a resilient defense mechanism against external interference. The creation of Frontier Naga Territory would ensure that the Nagas on both sides of the border feel connected to India, reducing the potential for exploitation by China. It would also foster cross-border cooperation between Nagas and mitigate the risks associated with China’s visibly evident expansionist agenda that has been negatively influencing world dynamics.

 

Countering China’s influence in Eastern Nagaland is not only essential for India’s interests but also for regional stability and security. A strong Indian presence in the region, supported by the establishment of Frontier Naga Territory, would enhance border security and deter any potential threats. It would also foster greater cooperation between India and Myanmar in addressing shared security challenges and promoting economic development. By proactively countering China’s influence, India can contribute to the overall stability and prosperity of the Indo-Myanmar border region.

 

Countering China’s influence in Eastern Nagaland along the Indo-Myanmar border is crucial for safeguarding India’s interests and promoting regional stability. The creation of Frontier Naga Territory would address the aspirations of the Eastern Nagas, strengthen their ties with New Delhi, facilitate Eastern Nagas to give opportunity to Kohima to wash its failures, mistakes & omissions and further positively enable the ‘invisible’, ‘neglected’, ‘ignored’, ‘oppressed’, ‘poor’ border people to actively participate in decision-making processes both at state and central level.

 

This, in turn, would effectively counterbalance China’s growing presence and influence. It is imperative for New Delhi to recognize the strategic significance of the region, the aspirations of the Eastern Nagas and the potential benefits of Frontier Naga Territory. By doing so, with active encouragement, collaboration, support and constructive participation of the “JOSH-FULL” Eastern Nagas India can assert its position in the region, enhance security, and foster a stable and prosperous Indo-Myanmar border area.

 

Dr. Aniruddha Babar,

Dept of Political Science,

Tetso College, Nagaland

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