Naga Peace Talks (29 August 2020)
Naga Peace Talks (29 August 2020)
Why in News:
Some “progress” is being made in coming to an understanding between the government and NSCN-IM in the latest round of informal Naga peace talks, media outlets have reported. These, however, are informal talks, and official deliberations – with the government – will follow after this round.
According to media reports officials of the Intelligence Bureau have been engaging with the NSCN-IM after relations between R N Ravi, the Centre’s interlocutor for the peace talks and also the Nagaland Governor, and leaders of NSCN-IM soured last year and the talks ended in a stalemate.
NSCN-IM has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim — it wants to extend Nagaland's borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, to unite 1.2 million Nagas. Centre has however, said there will be no disintegration of States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur to merge the Naga inhabited areas with the existing State of Nagaland.
Summary of the Debate
Naga Peace Talks:
- It seeks to settle disputes that date back to colonial rule.
- Talks have been initiated after Government has derecognized NSCN – IM as a militant organization.
- Government is now open to discuss the Naga territorial issue within the existing boundaries of the neighbouring states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh which are being claimed as part of Greater Nagaland or Nagalism.
- There is a question of self-respect and shared identity; it will be not easy to accommodate this within the Indian framework.
- The issue relating to a separate Naga flag and a constitution is still unresolved.
- The governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur have made it clear that they would not compromise on their territorial integrity.
- Several Naga organisations are of the view that at the ground level no tangible solution is emerging nor is there any progress in the political talk even though five years have elapsed since the signing of the ‘Framework Agreement’.
Present status of talk:
- Shillong Accord (1975): A peace accord was signed in Shillong in which the NNC leadership agreed to give up arms. But several NNC leaders, including Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S S Khaplang refused to accept the agreement and broke away to form the NSCN.
- Ceasefire Agreement (1997): NSCN(IM ) signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997 and key agreement was that there would be no counter-insurgency offensive operations against the NSCN(I-M), who would not attack Indian forces.
- Framework Agreement (2015): Signed between GOI and NSCN (IM). PM Modi described it as a historic agreement and recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.
- The talk must resume between the two parties as quickly as possible and for that different people have to play a positive role.
- The government of India is expected to have a bigger heart than NSCN (IM) and look out for a solution which will be permanent in nature.
- It’s important to rope in all actors and since Church has a bigger influence in the society, it is important to bring in all the expertise.
- The prevailing trust deficit has to be removed, so as to ensure talk does not break down.
- Specific institutions can be set up for state’s development, integration and rehabilitation of non-state Naga militia.
Important points made by the Guests
John S. Shilshi, Retired IPS Officer
Gautam Sen, Former Advisor, Govt of Nagaland
Joyeeta Bhattacharjee, Senior Fellow, ORF