India is a republic of 29 states, but due to the lacklustre attitude of our National media, Delhi-based things get the maximum mileage where general college politics are given 24hrs coverage and all other parts of the country are clubbed in fast 50 news as regional issues.
Again in Regional media also most of their coverage is on their state capital and the regions surrounding it. Other parts of the state hardly get a mention in news timelines. While one such area which has gone completely off the radar from the news is India’s Chicken’s Neck- The Siliguri Corridor.
The region shares border with Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and China with an area of just over 100km in India’s control which provides it access to the 8 states in North East and parts of West Bengal with population of nearly 6 crore people and an area of nearly 3,00,000 square kilometers all passing through this narrow passage , commonly called the Chicken’s Neck of India.
These regions are so cut off from Main Land India that their problems are hardly highlighted in National Media. Evangelists have successfully converted the local tribal people in Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, making them a Christian majority state thus losing their indigenous culture and identity and making them very ripe for foreign invasion. Sadly this huge threat to our national security will never come in Main Stream Media.
This region is also very uneven in nature with most of the area having hilly tracts. Since there is only one route to pass goods through this entire region and with no major metros or sea route surrounding it, it has also hampered the economic progress in the region. Historically this region was the birthplace of the violent Naxalite movement which forms the base of today’s Maoist struggle. This region also forms the hotbed for North East based secessionist groups like ULFA, NDFB, NSCN, Bodo Security Force, KPLT, Islamic jihadist group MULTA, KLO to name a few.
As per reports there are 21 terrorist groups in this region with a lot more unofficial splinter groups divide across states for which no official record is available.This region is also helped by the numerous Bangladesh-based terrorist organisations like JUMB, ISIS and Al-Qaeda Bangladesh who frequently cross borders for their terror activities. Stats show during 2014 there were only 143 people killed in Kashmir, the number stands at 413 people being killed in North East due to terror activities. Source-http://www.oneindia.com/…/north-east-militancy-here-is-what…
This region is also tough to monitor due to the India-Bangladesh enclaves which formed a small India inside Bangladesh and vice versa. This region till 2015 had worlds only 3rd order enclave Dahala-Khagrabari which was an Indian area inside a Bangladeshi territory which in itself is inside a territory of India in Bangladesh.
If we take all these factors into consideration there should not be an iota of doubt that the Siliguri corridor needs to be protected at any cost and it is in a very vulnerable position to be attacked by enemy forces anytime which can lead to another partition of our country, with us losing the North East forever.
Siliguri being its major city with access to Airports and Major Railway station remains the first point which will be attacked by the enemy. The major threat mainly comes from China as Bangladesh, Burma or Nepal don’t have the military power for the same. China can basically ramp the 100 km passage or Chickens neck, and take control of Siliguri within a few hours with the help of secessionist groups and that’s it. We could officially lost Assam and our seven sister states permanently. While a huge military presence is already in that area, the no. is far less to the 5 lakh army presence in Kashmir.
Force is just one of the ways to prevent the annexation of territories with other solutions demanding immediate action are: –
Economic development of the region, Finishing the North East based terror modules and stopping the Evangelists in spreading propaganda along with changing the demography of the region should be immediately acted upon. India should also negotiate with Bangladesh and look at ways to take full control of the Cox Bazar sea port either through exchange of territories or through colonization which will make it virtually an Indian territory and would open up a completely new route via sea for North East to get access to Indian Armed forces in case of any enemy attack on Siliguri Corridor.
Along with strategic depth, it will also act as a great fulcrum for economic development for the entire region.