Defused for now

The political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh has been defused for now with Nabam Tuki being sworn in as chief minister. Bitter infighting has always plagued the ruling Congress in Arunachal. It touched an all time low in recent months when Jarbom Gamlin took over the top post in May following the death of chief minister Jorgee Khandu in a plane crash. From the start of his tenure Gamlin was challenged by his public works minister Tuki. With the government divided between Gamlin and Tuki and ministers preoccupied with plotting and planning, administration ground to a halt. There were violent clashes too between supporters of Tuki and Gamlin and Congress politicians made a public spectacle of themselves by abducting and counter-abducting legislators of rival factions. The past few months also witnessed intense conflict in the Congress along ethnic and religious lines. Not surprisingly, security in the sensitive border state plunged as Arunachal’s politicians fought each other over the chief minister’s chair.

Tuki’s swearing-in will usher in at best a temporary calm. Gamlin is unlikely to take his ousting quietly. In the coming months, he will seek revenge by stoking dissidence in the party. Tuki can fend off such dissident activities and ensure political stability by making his government an inclusive one. Isolating Gamlin and his supporters them will provoke them to destabilise his government. He must take steps to restore normalcy in the state immediately. In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a Rs 20,000-crore package for Arunachal’s development. Little development has been seen in the state since.

With its enormous natural wealth, especially fast flowing streams, Arunachal has the potential to become India’s powerhouse. But successive governments have focused more on politicking than on the state’s socio-economic development. Tuki must change that.
Arunachal’s politicians left the country vulnerable by undermining the state’s security.

What is more, the Congress high command allowed the problem to fester. To beef up security along the Sino-Indian border, the government is considering deploying another 100,000 troops. Millions of rupees have been invested in improving border roads. The Brahmos supersonic cruise missile has been deployed in Arunachal. However, these measures will not secure the country against a possible Chinese threat if internal security in the border states is weak. Arunachal’s politicians must realise that their antics are undermining India’s security.

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