Arunachal Pradesh, the twenty-fourth state of the Indian Union lies in the eastern-most part of India between latitudes 260 28' N and 990 30' N and longitudes 910 31' E and 970 30' E. It shares international boundaries with China to the north, Bhutan to the west and Myanmar to the east. The neighbouring Indian states are Assam and Nagaland to its south. The north-easternmost state in India was once the forbidden land of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). Centrally administered for almost 40 years after Indian Independence, it attained statehood on 20 February 1987. The word 'Arunachal' means 'land of the dawn-lit mountains' a true description of this vast attractive land mass.
Covering an area of about 83,500 sq. km, this young state in India is predominantly mountainous, starting from the plains of the Brahmaputra valley in the south to the snow-capped mountains in the north, with numerous rivers and streams crisscrossing this fertile land of unparalleled natural beauty. The State is predominantly inhabited by tribes with a distinctive character and culture. There are about 25 carefree tribes who, with their songs and dances, make Arunachal Pradesh one of the most attractive natural landscapes in the country. The territory continues to be the buffer and sentinel to the integrity of the country.
Administratively, the state is divided into fifteen districts. The capital of the state is Itanagar situated in the district of Papum Pare. Itanagar is named after Itafort (fort of bricks) built in the fourteenth century AD.
The climate of the state varies from hot and humid with heavy rainfall in the Shivalik range to a progressively cooler climate as one moves north towards higher altitudes.
Arunachal Pradesh has its own developmental problems. Industrial infrastructure is almost non-existent here. Communication, transportation and availability of electricity and other forms of energy are other major problems. The nearest railway station to Itanagar, the state capital, is at Harmuty in Assam at a distance of about 30 km. The nearest airport, to which daily flight service is available is located at Guwahati about 400 km away from Itanagar. However, helicopter service connecting different important towns including the capital city Itanagar is also available.
Apart from negotiating the different hilly terrains, the construction of motorable roads requires construction of numerous bridges over narrow or wide terrains and rivers. As a result, Arunachal Pradesh still does not have a worthwhile network of motorable roads connecting its own towns and villages. Besides, occasional heavy rains and floods from the innumerable streams and rivers damage the roads almost every monsoon, thus cutting many villages and townships off from the rest of the country for months together. Arunachal Pradesh has very low road density as compared to other states. The major problem hindering development efforts in the state is its hostile terrain. Frequent natural calamities such as landslide, floods, etc., append problems in developmental work.