India (Assam)


Conflict Summary

The partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 precipitated ethnic and tribal tensions in Assam that continue to this day. Many immigrants from East Bengal (contemporary Bangladesh) settled in northeastern India, drastically altering the demography of the region. The indigenous Assamese grew increasingly frustrated as the central government failed to address both these demographic concerns and the state of the region’s economic development. This triggered violent protests and the establishment of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which fought for an independent Assam from 1979 but has since split into pro-talks and anti-talks factions. Similar concerns, as well as unease with the assertiveness of Assamese political movements, provoked elements of the Bodo ethnic group of Western Assam to form their own militant groups, including the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT), which demanded varying levels of autonomy from the Indian government. The 2003 Bodo Accord led to the disbandment of the BLT, but while the pro-talks factions of NDFB and ULFA are engaged in negotiations, their anti-talks factions continue to clash with security forces. However, counter-insurgency operations increasingly render these groups vulnerable and dependent upon externally organised joint operations with regional allies.