India’s new Tourism & Culture Minister has said that the industry can be used as a tool to “contain extremism”.
Attending an event in India’s restive northeast, Dr Mahesh Sharma has said that promoting tourism could help boost economic development and reduce social dissatisfaction that can lead to extremism.
The minister was speaking at the closing ceremony of Sangai Tourism festival in Imphal, in the state of Manipur, which has experienced an insurgency dating back to the 1950s.
“[The] northeast has a great potential to be developed as an important tourist destination due to its varied flora and fauna,” Dr Sharma said. “Tourism can make significant contribution to the economic development of the region.”
The minister added that he will soon visit other northeast states to discuss various tourism-related issues.
Several groups are waging insurgency campaigns in the northeast’s seven states – Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.