This book examines India’s Northeast borderland – strategically positioned at the confluence of South Asia, East and Southeast Asia – from the perspective of international relations. The volume interrogates the geopolitics of region-making in both colonial and postcolonial times and traces the transformation of Northeast India from a British strategic frontier into a securitised borderland. It situates the region in transnational interactions both in conflict and cooperation with its immediate neighbouring regions of China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, especially in the context of India’s Look East/Act East policy. The volume paves the way for a new ‘region-state’ framework borne out of the constructivist worldview and offers answers to many conundrums centring border studies. It further delineates approaches to overcoming the present geopolitical and territorial challenges of India’s Northeast with a critical thrust on regional policymaking.
The volume will be of interest to students and researchers in the disciplines of social sciences and humanities in India as well as South and Southeast Asia. It will be especially useful to those in politics and international relations, strategic studies, international political economy, foreign policy, development studies and regional development, besides foreign policy-makers and diplomats, development practitioners, economists and policy analysts.
Table of Contents
Figures and Tables
Introduction: Situating a Sub-state Region in IR
Frontier, Border and Territorial State
Bordering States, Conflict and Cooperation
Making of India’s ‘Northeast’
Northeast India in the Realm of Geopolitics
Act East through India’s Northeast
Epilogue: A Possible ‘Region-State’
Dilip Gogoi teaches International Politics at the Department of Political Science, Cotton University, Assam, India. An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Visiting Scholar to International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (2009); and a recipient of Lok Sabha Research Fellowship (Speaker’s Research Initiative, Parliament of India, 2018–2019), he has edited Unheeded Hinterland: Identity and Sovereignty in Northeast India (2016) and Beyond Borders: Look East Policy and Northeast India (2010); and co-edited Shifting Terrain: Conflict Dynamics in Northeast India (2012) and Marginal Frontier: Select Essays on Northeast India (2012). His current research interests include transboundary environmental governance and justice from the perspective of International Relations with an emphasis on Northeast India and the greater Eastern Himalayan region.
‘Competently operationalising the difficult IR concept of a sub-region, Gogoi meticulously analyses the multifarious transborder connections of the Northeast with southeast Asia by locating the question in its historical and geopolitical context. This book is compulsory reading for anyone interested in contesting the construed marginality of the region.’
Amit Prakash, Professor, Centre for Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
‘Dilip Gogoi's impressive study of international relations and India’s geostrategic Northeast is a must-read. Gogoi offers a compelling analysis of border conflicts, the making of India's Northeast, and the Act East initiative, and provides a way forward that is an innovative theoretical contribution to the field of international relations.’
Holli A. Semetko, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Media & International Affairs and Professor of Political Science, Emory University, USA
‘Dilip Gogoi's study is a significant contribution to a growing field that resituates Northeast India in a larger international geography, not locked up as the forgotten margin of the nation-state but as a frontier at the centre of international key events with global impact.’
Gunnel Cederlöf, Professor of History, Linnaeus University, Sweden