New opportunity for Nagaland

Nagaland is perhaps enjoying a rare time of grandeur what with the Festival of Festivals the Hornbill Festival in full swing and a worldwide audience just simply astonished by what is on offer—the colour and joie de vivre of the Nagas rich culture and tradition. Due credit should go to the people of Nagaland without whom none of this would have happened. The Chief Minister as the head of the government representing the people of Nagaland will indeed be a proud man. And he too deserves some of the accolades having steered the State as the CEO of brand Nagaland. The Hornbill Festival is testimony to the immense potential that exists for cultural tourism to thrive in Nagaland. Over the years it has also emerged as a hub for exploring the potential of youths in the field of Arts, Music, Fashion, Sports and Entrepreneurship besides off course providing a platform for rural-Agro based enterprise. So you see it is not always that good things are happening in our small State and so we need to cherish such moments. However we should not rest on our laurels but use this as a new opportunity for taking Nagaland to higher ground.  If the Hornbill Festival has given us something to smile about and allowed us to come together  as one people, the platform has also been used to reach out to our neighbors and not just the seven sister Northeastern States but beyond to Southeast Asia. This is an important development and should be further explored so that not just official interaction among governments but also people to people contacts can develop leading to greater engagement at all levels. This will allow trade and commerce to flourish, which in turn can sustain the livelihoods of the local communities.  

For Nagaland to make use of the opportunities available and more so the great foreseeable prospects in relation to the Government of India’s Look East Policy, the government and people of Nagaland will have to be prepared. One area of concern is the political uncertainty as a result of the non-resolution of the Indo-Naga peace process. While one should not be blaming the Naga issue for all the ills facing us today, but nevertheless, the Naga people have not realized their full potential because of the continuing political stalemate for the last fifty to sixty years. For Delhi as well, a resolution to the Naga issue will be good for its foreign policy goals in the vital South East Asian region. The other challenge is how to improve road and connectivity across the region. Nagaland if it wants to enjoy the benefits of trade, commerce and free movement of people, it should be giving more importance to quality infrastructure, which at present is not happening. The State government should take up the construction of four laning the NH-29 from Dimapur to Kohima on a priority. Also whatever funding is coming from Delhi for the State’s development should be utilized judiciously. A developed Nagaland living in peace with its neighbor and with itself will add more brand value in the global market. It will also command greater respect from foreign governments and attract business and investment. The opportunity for peace, prosperity is there for the taking if only we do our part.