Lying at the crossroads of South and Southeast Asia, the Northeast region of India is geographically and culturally remote from the heartland of India and incorporates a cultural kaleidoscope of more than 200 ethnic and tribal groups, who are ethnically, linguistically and culturally distinct. This has the potential to make it a future tourist paradise and an intriguing study for social scientists as well.
Unlike their counterparts in the rest of India who speak languages belonging to the Indo-European and Dravidian family of languages a large number of people from Northeast India speak Sino-Tibetan languages or Austro-Asiatic languages.
The 22-kilometre Siliguri strategic neck controls access to the area and represents a developmental hurdle as much as it acts as a psychological barrier to the integration of the region with the rest of India. On the other hand, India’s northeast shares a longer border of 1,643 kilometres with Southeast Asia. The geostrategic significance is something that India and Southeast Asia cannot ignore.
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