New Delhi: Union home minister Rajnath Singh had stressed on infrastructure but had completely sidestepped the issue of militancy plaguing the North-East, intelligence agencies and security officials said just a day after Singh concluded the 67th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council in Shillong.

Singh focused on skill development and increasing investments in the North-East, persons familiar with the developments stated. However, a comprehensive dialogue needs to be initiated to prevent youth taking to militancy, said the people quoted above.

“A different form of religious conditioning is happening in the region, with the youth veering more towards intolerance. While a dialogue process on increased investments is welcome, I think the centre needs to look very closely at the deeper issue of underground militancy taking shape," said a senior official, who did not wish to be identified.

Intelligence units have also warned of increased cases of arms smuggling, just two months after Singh had chaired a meeting with national security advisor Ajit Doval and the Intelligence Bureau, on the status of militancy in the North-East.

“Arms and weapons smuggling as well as drugs are being brought in on a massive scale through Myanmar and China. The people cross through the Indo-Myanmar and Indo-Bangladesh corridor where cadres of the National Social Council of Nagaland factions reside and the jungles are extensive," said a senior intelligence official, seeking anonymity.

Defence experts also said that the Union home ministry needs to act quickly to keep the situation from spiraling out of control.

“Arms and goods smuggling in the North-East is a very large part of the informal economy. For far too long now, the region has lived without infrastructure and basic facilities and if the government makes a little effort, getting the North-East into the mainstream will not be very difficulat," said Gaurav Arya, former Indian Army officer and defence expert.

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