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America eyeing north-eastern India?

September 17, 2007

America in the north east of India? Well, with the Chinese knocking on our doors, can the United States be far behind? In fact America has far more ambitious plans. China may be interested in just Arunachal (and in fact the latest news is that China is encroaching slowly but surely) but the US is interested not just in Arunachal, but in the whole of the north east!

Er..no, not exactly in the way you think!

It’s purely an economic interest…(well, I hope!)

However, this news has not been reported by the mainstream media in India – except for The Telegraph. The news that there will be North-east India Investment Conference in New York on 26th of September between Americans representatives and the Chief Ministers of Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and senior ministers from Manipur, Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Assam.

And another piece of news, this reported widely, is that of a proposed link road between India and Thaliand. Incredible and ambitious…it will mean development of infrastructure for the north-east and great benefits for Thailand as well.

There is also mention of the North-East India Investment Opportunities Week’ to be organised in Bangkok…

Now while the latter news about the north east and Thailand was picked up and reported widely, the proposed conference between the north eastern states and the United States was not. Perhaps it is less important, but I don’t think so. It is very significant that American companies will be entering the north-east.

What I cannot help thinking is that there seems to be a lack of will on the part of the Central government to invest heavily in the north-east. Or maybe India has no money! At least not for the development of the north east…after all so many other children of India are clamoring for the share of the development funds. Naturally the children…er, states with strong voices are more likely to win.

What does this remind me of? Tamil Nadu and Ram Sethu…? Oh oh, I said the wrong thing. Development of the north-east and Ram Sethu are not connected, both can happen..what is the connection anyway…different ministries, different departments, diffierent issues…and anyway, what do I know about what is happening behind the scenes? If I think the north-east is more important, what am I talking about! American companies will do the needful won’t they?

(Map from The Economist)

For more articles on the north-east, go here.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2007 10:23 am

    Yes, North-East is neglected by the Centre because MPs/political parties from that region are not breathing life to this Government. Sethusamudram is important because DMK is important. This is one of the sad effects of coalition governments.
    Talks North-East Thailand highway has been appearing in the media for quite sometime now. Hope it materialises soon.

  2. September 17, 2007 11:04 am

    Harish, this neglect of the north-east has been the biggest mistake of modern India. I just wish they would get more involved, at least now.

  3. vish permalink
    September 17, 2007 12:30 pm

    “Sethusamudram is important because DMK is important”…It was one of the poll promises of DMK and there is nothing wrong if DMK is pushing for it…it will be in the best interest of the country if regional parties are able to push their agenda to develop their region within the framework of the constitution. It is another issue whether this project would benefit the state or not or whether it should be stopped for religious, ecological reasons.

  4. September 17, 2007 12:44 pm

    I agree with you a hundred percent Vish, there is absolutely nothing wrong if the DMK is pushing it. I would say kudos to their aggressiveness and their desire to push for more development. However the mother/father (in this case India) should pay a little more attention to the weaker siblings because it will benefit India in the long run. Benefit the whole country.

  5. September 17, 2007 1:54 pm

    Vish, I would like to clarify what I said.
    I find no fault in numerically strong allies pushing for the development of states. This is a positive aspect coalition Governments. But on the flip side, some states get neglected just because they are not very important in the Government’s scheme of things as far as survival is concerned.

  6. September 17, 2007 4:38 pm

    well i think it is better to sell it to some Indian company…maybe the tatas…or someone….how much is one state anyway…i will prefer tamil nadu…my home state…

  7. September 17, 2007 4:59 pm

    m agree with you and find your ideas very interesting and informative.I must say you have a good flair to write and your ideas seem to match my views – at least most of them! Keep writing and I will keep reading. Good Luck!

  8. September 17, 2007 5:33 pm

    Good move.. But also they would have initiated few public-private partnership projects with our own indian companies.. why our indian enterprenaurs are failing?

    Seen many projects like that with Indian-State-with-Foriegn-Country partnership.. One example is B’lore international tech park(ITPL) started 10 years ago with Singapore consortium that owns 47% of the ITPL partnership.. here is the link: http://www.intltechpark.com .. It’s very successful & useful.

  9. vish permalink
    September 17, 2007 7:37 pm

    Hi Vishesh,

    Vishesh,

    “how much is one state anyway…i will prefer tamil nadu…my home state…”

    Have a look at this news!

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/WB_govt_seeks_CII_help_on_Singur/articleshow/2376936.cms

    Yes, it is a big real estate business now! Really a free market. After sometime, you and me have to say whether you come from Tata land or Birla land if they are generous enough to allow us to stay!

  10. September 17, 2007 8:36 pm

    hi vish

    lol ya true…or we should become rich enough to own some…but we should try and stop others from buying…or it will be the same old thing…

  11. September 17, 2007 10:28 pm

    Vishesh, yes even I wish some Indian companies were involved! I would prefer ones from Maharashtra ;)

    Rohit, thanks.

    Bharath, thanks for the info and taking the trouble. :)

  12. September 18, 2007 1:58 am

    The people of North-Eastern states feel they have been sidelined in every way. I believe they have every reason to feel so. The people of Sikkim revolted against their traditional ruler, Chogyal to merge Sikkim with India.Most of these states have different culture, traditions, languages and even different physical appearance compared to the other Indians. Yet they continue to suffer silently, hoping their problems would be solved by the insensitive netas in Delhi. Development of N-Eastern India would mean lesser terrorism and more gain for India. The US is smart enough to smell the business opportunities there, so the conference.

  13. September 18, 2007 9:18 am

    Thanks Harsha for dropping in! That point about terrorism and insurgency is what I keep thinking about too. Its terrible for the people…and unfortunately the rest of India is not even aware of what happens there…

  14. September 18, 2007 10:03 am

    Wow, finally a fair objective discussion about the North East :-)

    I’m glad to see bigger powers giving us some recognition. But I wish the central govt would get more involved as well. Are we being treated unfairly? I guess yes, but I’ve never known anything but peace and beauty growing up there and in some ways, I’m not unhappy about being neglected.

    And if ‘modernizing’ us means we’re gonna be like the rest of the civilized world, where how many cars you own determine how many friends you have, or your mom is more obsessed with clothes than you are, or how much money you have determines your social standing…I’m not sure I want those. I’m not even sure that Thailand road is a good idea.

    Though I don’t live there anymore, it has taught me how to appreciate the land and the people more. It’s peaceful, and beautiful, and you can trust people, and no one would let anyone go hungry or beg, and people have good senses of personal hygiene, and somehow I fear any form of interference would spoil it all…I’ve also never known terrorism of any sort. I’ve never felt unsafe there (speaking solely about Mizoram). But whatever I feel is more about passion than logic and reasoning so I know lots of it don’t make sense.

    (Also want to mention: Just because I said all that doesn’t mean the rest of India is a horrid place! I love the rest of India too. I’ve lived in the North as well as the South, and I love both sides, my closest and truest friends are from “mainland” India :-) But home is home!)

    Well, I could go on and on..sorry for taking up so much of your space Nita! And I apologise for barging in like this.

  15. September 18, 2007 11:20 am

    Jerusha, you make a lot of sense! Thanks for sharing that experience of Mizoram. I have never been there but I lived in Assam for a while, that too in a place called Duliajan, the most beautiful place on earth!! The newspapers arrived a day or two late…and I loved it! so green, so peaceful, it was absolutely like my idea of heavan…except for the insurgency part.
    If I were Assamese, I would want to live there forever, never leave that land which is fit for the Gods.
    I feel like this because I am a lover of nature. Time stands still…
    modernization will bring with it more ‘comfort’ but it means more pollution and the anonymity of the cities.
    I experienced a similar feeling (like I felt in Assam) when we lived in Tanzania. Deep blue skies, deep green sea, air so fresh it seemed scented! I wanted to live there forever!
    But mundane issues like earning our bread always call us back to the dirty cities!
    You have not taken up space at all Jerusha. You are welcome. :)

  16. Mate permalink
    September 18, 2007 12:52 pm

    Dear All!

    You all had been debating and sharing your thoughts and ideas. I though nobody is interest in NE but you guys out here deserved three cheers!!!

    I think what you all said is right. In my opinion, it is very sad. People think India is a country of spiritualism and great regions. But the action of the mainstream leaders seems failed in convincing the North- Easterners. Leaders have become anti- religion, more self centred etc the list is huge and large.

    Sixty years of India’s independence!!! Great Economic prospects and achievements for the mainstream people. But this is sixty years humulation, tribulation and suffering.
    60 years of fighting poverty ended with more poverty and lawlessness for the NE people.

    Government is run only by people who have money, etc etc.

    This is shameful for India. Let the Chiness and America starts. What is wrong. Encourage them

  17. September 18, 2007 3:25 pm

    Hi Mate,
    I guess if the govt. of India is still insisting on being stingy with development funds and insists on letting America do a job it should do, yes I think its shameful, but as you said, necessary. I can feel a trace of bitterness in your words, but suffering has led to bitterness.
    I wonder when the govt will wake up…or rather when it will realise that acting on short term goals is fool-hardy. They messed up in the north-east and every action has a reaction, and they have got paid back in their own coin!

  18. Mizo permalink
    September 18, 2007 3:52 pm

    It is not true that the NE is neglected. The central government on purpose keeps the NE states quiet and docile due to political reasons. The NE states are not paying any taxes but receive a large amount of money every year from the central goverment.

    Pity this money is not spend properly. In many states, if the money was better used and accounted for, the public infrastructure would be in a better state. Many public figures live a life way beyond their regular source of income…

    So, people of the NE, anwers two questions:
    - are you willing to start paying taxes
    - are you willing and able to keep your leaders accountable for all the money they receive and spend

  19. September 18, 2007 8:24 pm

    Mizo, thanks for that perspective…
    People empowerment certainly seems to be the only solution.

  20. Mate permalink
    September 19, 2007 12:37 pm

    Dear Nita,
    Van you imagine this story. Read, its amazing!

    Dead man drawing salary for 16 years at electricity dept!

    The Imphal Free Press

    IMPHAL, Aug 22: A dead man was found drawing salary in the electricity department as assistant lineman sixteen years after his death.

    This faux pass came to light when L Tombi and L Rishikanta, wife and son of late L Ningthemjao of Kiyam Siphai, filed a complaint with the state chief information commissioner for service-related documents of Ningthemjao from the electricity department under the Right to Information Act on July 7, 2007.

    As told by Rishikanta at a press conference held today at the office of Human Rights Law Network, his father was serving as an assistant lineman with the electricity department from January 21, 1971. Later, on August 18, 1984, he joined as work charge. However, Rishikanta said, his father died on June 21, 1985 due to illness. He said that the representatives from the office employee union came for his shradha and provided monetary help.

    Rishikanta said that since he was very young and his mother was also illiterate, they did not have any idea about pension and other benefits procedures. He said, “It was only in 2004 that we sent an application to the electricity department to find out about my father’s pension when one of his friends enquired about it. Then we started to investigate and could not make much headway.”

    M Rakesh, state coordinator HRLN, said that after Rishikanta approached for help, he sent a legal notice to the chief engineer of the electricity department on January 17, 2007 on behalf of Tombi inquiring about the pension benefits of late Ningthemjao.

    Not being able to make much progress, two applications were sent by Tombi and Rishikanta under RTI to the electricity department. After 30 days lapsed with no action forthcoming, on July 7, 2007, the state information commission was approached.

    Thereafter, the state information commission directed the chief engineer of the electricity department to furnish the relevant service documents of Ningthemjao. In the service documents provided by the electricity department, it was found that Ningthemjao was promoted as lineman on January 16, 1998, thirteen years after his death, by the then chief engineer. Thereafter he retired on superannuation on August 31, 2001, more than 16 years after his death.

    Apart from having somebody withdrawing Ningthemjao’s salary for the past 16 years, Rakesh said that there were various false documentations. As per the family’s version, at the time of his death Ningthemjao was serving with the Thoubal electricity division whereas the official document mentioned that he was last serving with the Imphal Electrical Division No. 3, Lamphelpat.

    Rakesh said that a criminal case will be taken up at the earliest against the electricity department and the High Court will be approached to provide relief to the aggrieved family.

  21. Mate permalink
    September 19, 2007 12:48 pm

    Hi Nita & Mizo,

    Adik lutuh! Mahse,

    Actually, I am a regular taxpayer; because I work in Delhi and it’s our duty.
    Second, accountability is nothing but good governance. Unless you have good leaders, it will be difficult to enforce accountability. Because, accountability is one feature of good governance.

    Thanks

  22. Mate permalink
    September 19, 2007 12:49 pm

    Good governance includes all the processes, systems, and controls that are used to safeguard and grow assets Therefore, it refers to the set of laws, procedures and common practices that determine the ability of exchange with partners and stakeholders to take decisions with respect to their exchange relationship. However, it is to be noted that good governance does not come easily. Good governance is synomimous with good leader. Only capable leadership can provide good governance to a nation or a state.

    Leaders are elected to represent the public. How can they be so irresponsible? Why schemes and projects are not implemented/ why dip the funds in their pocket?. Who is to be blame? Its the power brokers and the so call Leaders. The poor cannot pay bribe and don’t want to go that process.

    The first shame goes to leaders of NE for their ineffectiveness. Example- Two governments in Manipur- State govt and militants. All the food on the table has been eaten by this two category with the assistance of Bureaucracy and while the left over foods are lick by the poor.

    The second shame goes to Indian national leaders. Granting fund is always not the solution. It is equally important to know how it is being distributed and used. Parties should encourage competition while nominating their candidates. Importantly, if local goons are cleared then only you will find innovations and creativity among the people. Govt should find a way to stop militancy

    About $410 millions are own and lay in foreign banks own millions.

    Actually, 10% of the Indian population share/ enjoy 53% of India’s wealth while 53 % of Indian population share 8% of India’s wealth.

    Is this not shameful?

    Sorry, I became emotional. A lot is to be done for the northeast.

    Thank you.

  23. Nil permalink
    September 20, 2007 1:59 am

    I think the NE’s econmoic woes are slowly but surely getting resolved bit by bit. I read a few weeks ago, that the fine Muga silk of Assam was granted GI status (Geographical Indication). It’s used to make fine clothing like Assamese saris, for example. I’m not sure what it entails 100%, but I presume it’ll be of economic benefit to local businesses in the region. Apparently the Assam government are wanting to make more applications for other products unique to the state :)

    I also read about the construction of some new highway to link the NE to the rest of India more efficiently, so hopefully infrastructre is steadily getting there.

    Furthermore, there was a report that the Assam CM, during an NRI Assamese conference, urged NRI’s from Assam to invest in the state. Widespread investment and remittances by other NRI communities have helped states like Gujarat, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh prosper.

    The proposed road link to Thailand could do wonders for the region’s economy. It’d be creating new trading partners and relations, and hopefully strengthen ties between the rest of India and South-East Asia.

    American investment in the area is probably the MOST ambitious to me. It’s wonderful to hear of their interest, but I believe that US investors should be aware of the dangers in the area. Insurgency and conflict can’t go side-by-side with development and industrialisation, so there needs to be an active effort to flush the violence out, making the NE a peaceful and safe place after years of terror.

    Even though it isn’t central govt taking such an interest, I think that SOMEONE needed to take that step to discuss major business prospects of the area. And who better than the most powerful nation on earth? Maybe America’s interest might help generate interest among Indian-based investors and the govt in pushing for a more prosperous North East India.

    There is still a long, long, long road to go, but active discussions about the region’s future promise some glimmer of hope.

  24. Vasudevan permalink
    September 20, 2007 7:00 pm

    North-East needs Port to transport goods and access technology.

    India will be building a port in Myanmar to access northeast. It will improve security and economy. At the same time china building port for it’s military access. So India needs US for security. India is selling military equipments(AHL,dhurva) to Myanmar.

    Sethusamudram is 150 year old dream. Why are you not comparing NE with Mumbai (central gov. spend special fund to developed living status)

  25. September 20, 2007 10:33 pm

    Nil, thanks for that news. If yu check this thread again, let me know if there is a good source of NE news. Am interested.

    Vasudevan, I guess I compared NE to Ram Sethu as it was on my mind a lot…nothing personal against TN :)
    thanks for dropping by and sharing your views.

  26. Mate permalink
    September 21, 2007 11:01 am

    Dear Nita,

    What aare you doing as a profession. If some of us are interested, why can’t we do something for the North-East, in changing leadership through campaigns.

    If you guys could support to those people who are forward looking especially from the youths of North East could immensely help in creating equitable development and growth for all- at least to some extent)
    We can start by lobying for those people who have the ability and desire to stand up for justice and good governance.

    Could you guys share your thoughts on this. It could be of great help to the people of North East.

    The Sangai Express is the most reputed in Manipur. You can find the worst things on this news especially about the north East. Check out. http://www.thesangaiexpress.com

  27. Mate permalink
    September 21, 2007 11:44 am

    Dear All,

    Please read the following news report to understand the reality of governance in Manipur:

    Police raid exposes MLAs-underground nexus for all to see, 12 militants held from Congress MLAs’ quarters in high security Babupara

    The Imphal Free Press

    IMPHAL, Aug 17: Altogether 12 underground activits belonging to separate groups were nabbed from the official quarters of MLAs and ex-MLAs located in the heavily guarded VIP area at Babupara just behind the chief minister’s bungalow during a police raid today.
    Weapons, ammunitions and demand letters of KYKL were also recovered in today’s raid which has struck a heavy blow to the status of legislators in the state.

    State DGP Y Joykumar has said that the raid was conducted to reduce the increasing extortion threat in the Imphal area from the underground organizations. The DGP was talking briefly during a hurriedly call press conference late this evening.

    Interestingly, all the underground members were rounded up from the quarters of MLAs and an ex-MLA of the ruling Congress, namely the quarters occupied by MLA W Brajabidhu Singh of Lamsang A/C, K Meghachandra of Wangkhem A/C, Bijoy Koijam of Thongju A/C and by ex-MLA N Sovakiran Singh.

    Imphal police station has taken up a case under section 16/17/20 UAP (A) act and 25 (1-B) Arms Act. Cases have also been registered against the arrested cadres of the underground organizations.

    The cordon and search operation began early morning at around 3 am and movement of people in the colony was strictly monitored. Outgoing movement from the colony was restricted till this evening.

    State police commandos cordoned off the area from state guest house to the by-lane to Imphal west DC office, then commenced quarter to quarter search operations.

    The operation was conducted under the supervision of the DIG, range-1, Karnajit and Imphal west SP, Clay Khongsai.

    Around 50 people were picked up from different quarters and verification was conducted one by one at the Imphal west district police complex which is co-located with the Imphal police station.
    “We are keeping the whole area cordoned as there is still apprehension that some more underground activists are sheltering in the area,” a police officer who took part in the operation said without revealing his name.

    The VIPs’ colony is still kept sealed by the police as the search operation was going on till late evening. Strict vigil is being maintained at the MLAs quarters where the UGs were rounded up
    Among the arrested 12 members, eight were KYKL cadres, all of whom were rounded up from the quarters of the Lamsang MLA W Brajabidhu.

    Police also recovered disassembled parts of an M-16 rifle and a 9 mm pistol, 10 rounds of M-16 ammunitions, five rounds of 9mm and five demand letters of the outfit addressed to different businessmen in Imphal area. The disassembled weapons were detected from septic tank of the MLA’s quarter from where the KYKL cadres were rounded up, police said.

    One of the demand letters was addressed to JMJ Shopping owner Paona Bazaar opposite Friends Cinema Hall. The letter demands Rs, 5 lakh from the owner.

    Another letter was addressed to 15 shop owners of JMJ shopping complex.

    The texts of other letters revealed that the outfit was seeking monetary donations from owners of truck, bus, JCB, roller, dredger, tractor, kabao, jeep, auto-rickshaw, van, brick field, LIC, hospital, clinic, doctors, jewellery, shops, counters and restaurants etc. The rates sought ranged from Rs. 1000 to 50,000.

    The eight arrested KYKL men were identified as Thingbaijam Soberson alias Captain alias Nanao, 33 son of late Khomdonbi of Top Awing Leikai under Poropmpat police, RK Robindro alais

    Sanjoy, 34 son of late RK Dijamani Singh of Naoremthong Khullen Leikai under Imphal police station, Lourembam Sana alias Nilachandra, 22 son of L Jugeshwor Singh of Irengband Hawairok Awang Leikai under Kakching police station, Keisham Hemanta, 18 son of N Tomar of Leimaram Makhs Leikai under Nambol police station currently residing at Phayeng Awang Leikai, lourembam Tiken, 38, son of late L Inaobi of Taothong Maning leikai under lamsang police station, Kongrailakpam Giridhari Sharma, 31, son of K Krishnadas Sharma of Maharabi Makha Leikai of Sekmai police station and Ingudam Ibosana Meitei, 45 son of late I Chaomu of Taothong Mamang Leikai under Lamsang police station.

    The quarters of the MLA Brajabidhu is located opposite to the Imphal west DC office, Babupara.

    One PLA activist and a KCP member were rounded up from the quarters of MLA, Meghachandra. They were identified as Nongthombam Somorendro alais Ibomcha alias Raja, 32 son of N Babudhon of Wangbal Leikon under Thoubal police station of PLA and Konthoujam Tomba, 40, son of late Gouro Singh of Thiyam Konjin Makha Maning Leiksi of Irilbung police station, a KCP cadre. The PLA cadre was a bail out one.

    The only PREPAK cadre was rounded up from MLA Bijoy Koijam quarter and identified as Ningombam Rohendro alias Yaima alias Sindamba, 29 son of N Biren of Singjamei Waikhom Leikai under Singjamei police station, according to the police.

    Bijoy Koijam has in the meantime denied that anyone was arrested from his quarters.

    The MLA disclosed that the man said to have been arrested was casually employed as a driver, and informed that during the raid he had been taken for verification, but later released
    He may have been formally arrested later in the evening, but not from my quarters, said the MLA over telephone.

    Another KCP cadre identified as Khundrakpam Anandkumar alias Bobby, 25 son of Kh biren Singh of Thoubal Haokha Maning Leikai of Thoubal was also rounded up from the quarter of the ex-MLA, Sovakiran.

  28. September 21, 2007 4:52 pm

    Mate, I am a writer. My job is to create awareness. And right now my whole cause as I see it is India, and there are many problems here that people need information on and I try hard to get it and put it across in a simple way. there is a lot that I have not covered on this blog, mainly because I do not have sufficient knowledge on it…but slowly I want to cover more subjects and issues in as many regions of India as possible.

  29. Nil permalink
    September 29, 2007 11:35 pm

    Hi Nita, there are various sources you can keep up to date with NE news. I think one of the best is the Assam Tribune website. It’s an English language paper and probably the best in Assam:

    http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/details.asp?id=sep2907/main

    Another website with some interesting articles is the Manipuri-based E-Pao which offers news, opinons and other things:

    http://www.e-pao.net/

    This news site is dedicated to the entire North East, I believe:

    http://www.kanglaonline.com/

    Hope these sites are useful :)

    Nil, thanks. Will surely check them out. Regards, Nita.

  30. kima permalink
    September 28, 2008 9:29 am

    Thanks for comments on North East. Still a long way to go for North East states but that distance can be reduced by good leaders. Look at Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, they transfomed their respective countries within three decades. In some way we can say North East has been neglected by the central govt. in many ways. But I find more problems have been faced by North East people from mainland Indians not the central government. How can one feel at home in a country where there is no recognition and respect as a person or tribe? I feel at home when I visited Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, etc unlike Delhi and many other Indian cities where people tried to take advantage on my ‘foreigner look’. Of course this is out of ignorance, lack of adequate knowledge and insensitivity. I happened to come accross one self-claimed ‘retired college lecturer’ in Kolkata street who did not know the state of Mizoram. In the countries I mentioned people dont looked upon me as foreigner. Many mainland Indians need to give up their exclusive attitude towards the people of North East. That is hurting and painful.

  31. Gary Zaetz permalink
    November 22, 2010 1:37 am

    The interest of the United States in the Indian North-East is not purely economic – American families of the 400 American military aviators lost in the Northeast during World War II (primarily in Arunachal Pradesh, but also in Tripura) desperately want the remains of these men located, recovered from their crash sites, and repatriated to the US for proper burial.

    As a nephew of USAAF 1st Lt. Irwin Zaetz of the US Army Air Force, lost in Arunachal Pradesh, India, along with his entire 8-man crew in 1944, I have received from the US Defense Department’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command a number of communications over a period of several months, all of which clearly accuse the Government of India of responsibility for the unacceptable delays in the completion of this recovery operation. That the Indian Government failed to deny these accusations (after I brought them to the attention of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs) can only lead me to believe that these accusations must be true.

    It should be clear to anyone familiar with the provisions of international humanitarian law that the Indian Government’s actions and inactions – putting up huge obstacles to the repatriation of my uncle’s remains and the remains of over 400 other American airmen lost in northeast India during the Second World War – amounts to a flagrant violation of obligations imposed on the Indian Government by the Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocol I to cooperate fully with US and families’ requests for the recovery and repatriation of these remains. These obligations have been reinforced in more recent years by resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the World Congresses of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

    I am in the process of filing a complaint against the Government of India with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The intent of this complaint is to force the Government of India to remove all impediments to an expeditious recovery of all American World War II airmen missing in India. While many private Indian citizens have expressed a wonderful degree of support for the return of the bodies of American soldiers, along with many leaders of the Indian opposition parties, I have received very little in the way of assistance from the ruling United Progressive Alliance.

    I am grateful to the US JPAC agency for bringing India’s breaches of basic standards of international humanitarian conduct to the attention of my family, the other families of my uncle’s crew, and the families of all American airmen lost in India in World War II….Gary Zaetz, Cary, North Carolina, United States

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