File Photograph: Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya chief minister and National People’s Party (NPP) president Conrad Sangma on October 19 said that dialogues are the “only way” to resolve the long-standing differences, including the inter-state boundary matters among the Northeast states.

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“We often harden our stand without knowing the issue. We should be able to differentiate stand and issue,” Sangma said, while adding that inter-state boundary issues can be solved if each of the Northeast states started sitting for dialogues.

Sangma was speaking at the NPP’s conclave themed ‘Regional Aspiration, National Outlook’ held at Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.

“Our stand is not important but the issue is for a regional aspiration. We should come out of our position minded stand and take an issue-based stand. If we follow this, I believe at least 50-60 per cent issues can be resolved, including the Assam-Arunachal boundary issue,” the NPP chief said.

Observing that most of the issues in the Northeast are ‘economic-related’, Sangma said that the region needs an economic agenda and the need to start deliberation on economic related issues.

“There are multiple ways to do it but we don’t explore it,” he said, adding that economic related issue is the main factor for many issues in the region including illegal immigration.

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He said that the objective of the conclave is to ignite discussion and create buzz over the issues. “We are not here to give you solutions. There is no correct solution to the challenges/issues we have been facing for many years,” he added.

Sangma further said that misconception on regional and nationalism needs to be reduced. “Somehow perception is that if you are regional, you are anti-national, if you are national, you are anti-regional. We want to slowly reduce this misconception and confusion. I believe that if we deliberate over this issue, these both can go along,” he said.

Hailing the NPP Arunachal Pradesh unit for organizing the first-ever conclave, Sangma said: “We have started a new beginning in the state, where we have discussed various issues related to the Northeast region.

“The issues of the region need to be known to other parts of the country and we shall continue to organize such programmes so that we can find solutions. We need to balance regionalism but our outlook should always be toward national and nationalism, focusing on the regional aspiration for all round development of the region,” he said.

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