Home » Like ‘INS Imphal’ in Indo-Pacific Strategy, Stability in Imphal is Necessity for India’s Act-East Strategy

Like ‘INS Imphal’ in Indo-Pacific Strategy, Stability in Imphal is Necessity for India’s Act-East Strategy

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 3 minutes read
Like ‘INS Imphal’ in Indo-Pacific Strategy, Stability in Imphal is Necessity for India’s Act-East Strategy

At the end of December 2023, the Indian Navy officially put into service its newest guided missile stealth destroyer, INS Imphal. A guided-missile destroyer is a type of destroyer ship which equipped with guided missiles as its main weaponry, enabling it to offer anti-aircraft warfare protection for the fleet. This addition has strengthen India’s naval power influence in the Indo-Pacific region by enhance its ability to address various regional situations, including evolving challenges in the Indian Ocean and South-China sea. Another important feature of INS Imphal is the ship’s make is 75% indigenous which showcases India’s commitment to self-reliance. It also highlights in the national consciousness the Manipur’s sacrifices and its significant role in India’s fight for independence, notably during the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891. The emblem of INS Imphal features the Kangla Sanathong (Kangla Gate) on the left and Kangla Sha on the right, representing two prominent cultural heritage symbols of the Meitei civilization.
INS Imphal though signals Manipur’s importance as a symbol in India’s global demonstration of power, the fear is the ongoing and persistent violence, particularly at the outskirts in the valley of Manipur, might create a global perception that India lacks the wisdom and power to bring peace in Imphal. The ongoing violence in the Valley, which has lasted almost nine months, may create an impression among the global audience that India is facing challenges in resolving a crucial issue, especially in a key aspect of its Act East Policy. The instability in Myanmar since military junta’s takeover, which shares a border with four northeastern states—Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh—has created challenges in the Act East Policy. The current turmoil in Manipur adds another layer of complexity, potentially slowing down progress, particularly on connectivity projects.
The strategic town of Moreh in Manipur situated on the Indo-Myanmar border and considered the primary land route between India and Myammar, has become a battlefield in the recent outbreak of violence. The execution of such projects and ensuring smooth movement through existing routes becomes difficult in the absence of peace and stability. A major connectivity project at risk is the 1,400 km long trilateral highway project connecting Moreh to Myanmar and extending to Mae Sot in Thailand. Already stalled due to the Myanmar situation, the project has faced difficulties and slow progress. Although 70 percent of the work is completed, the trilateral highway may not be operational by the latest target of 2025. The ethnic violence in Manipur, endangering peace and stability in the broader northeast, could severely impact India’s infrastructure-building efforts for connectivity and its commitment to Act East unless stability returns to the region soon.
The commissioning of INS Imphal marks a noteworthy achievement for the Indian Navy, bolstering naval capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region and underscoring India’s commitment to self-reliance. However, the prolonged violence in Manipur’s valley not only jeopardizes peace in the northeast but also poses a significant threat to India’s infrastructure-building efforts and its commitment to Act East. So, prolonging of the violent situation in Manipur can make a dent in India’s growing image as a global power. Therefore, restoration of stability to the region is imperative for the successful realization of India’s geopolitical objectives.

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