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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’.

Framework Agreement

  • Framework Agreement has been kept a closely guarded secret by the government all these years.
  • Following the agreement, the government had said in a press statement: “The Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.
  • The NSCN understood and appreciated the Indian political system and governance.
  • In 2019, the NSCN (I-M) issued a statement that said Nagaland State does not and will not represent the national decision of the Naga people.
  • The NSCM (IM) has for the first time released the details of the 2015 framework agreement and has accused interlocutor R.N. Ravi of deleting a key word from the original document and sharing the modified version with other Naga groups.

Present status of talk:editorial - INSIGHTSIAS

  • 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.

Way Forward:

  • 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

  • As far as players in the region are concerned, there are so many. Every stakeholder in this peace talk between the government of India and the NSCN(IM), they are all players in some form or the others, the Naga society at large and the other societies such as where the people from the state of Manipur or Arunachal Pradesh or Assam, everybody is stakeholder. Therefore, everyone is a player in this ongoing talk.
  • More than the players, the little bit worrying as of now is the circumstances that led to the recent stalement.
  • On 3rd of August, 2015, there were certain things which the Prime Minister has said during the function, which is actually not a closed door function but this is an open function where, the whole International community was also watching and in that PM has said very important things.
  • He said about mutual respect, trust and confidence. He gave a little bit of his idea about how the Naga problem has prolonged and in that he has added that, it was a heritage or rather it was a legacy of the colonial past.
  • He mentioned two important words; Isolation and Insulation. He said Nagas have been isolated for too long and they have been kept insulated. On that day, NSCN (I-M) chief Thuingaleng Muivah said ‘if the Indians are willing to accept Naga reality, one reality of Nagas is; the Nagas are willing to accept within 10 realities of the Indian problems’.
  • Because of the long history of the fight that Nagas have been indulging into and however educated they are or however vertical mobility they might have acquired in their life have been able to manage in their life but the sentiment remains the same. Therefore, the most contentious issue, which is of the Constitution and the Flag is actually in the minds of everybody.
  • A day before India hoisted its National Flag in 1947, the symbolic flag was hoisted by the Naga and from then onward the progress was continuing and every year and in the every important function of Nagas, these flags are being hoisted.

Gautam Sen, Former Advisor, Govt of Nagaland 

  • The problem has persisted for quite some time that is why the problem it was in the late 1980s and 1990s and how it has evolved or not changed the last few years, particularly since the frame of agreement was concluded. Basically, the problem is not as it used to before, it’s more a question of accommodating the Nagas aspirations within the Indian framework.
  • Perhaps there is a realization both sides, the time is running out. The forceful aspiration to separate out a separate identity is not the option, but that does not mean that you will not treat the Naga community or the various groups in the Naga community as a distinct ethnic identity with a great lineage and a past proud history.
  • So, once that sort of acceptance is there on the part of the Indian Union and the government of India and the Indian people at large, then the other side also will be available to arriving in the accord.
  • Governor and interlocutor rolled into one is perhaps not the most ideal solution.

Joyeeta Bhattacharjee, Senior Fellow, ORF

  • Naga conflict or Naga peace process is very long drawn, it’s already 2 decades and in last 2 decades the society changes and there has been a significant change not only in India but also in Naga society.
  • The people have started enjoying the world all together. So, the choices and priorities have also changed and the realities are much more different today. Considering that there has been a severe change and the leadership also recognises this.
  • From 2015, 2016, and 2017 onwards, so much of progress was made; themost importantly compromises were made in order to see some kind of solution is brought in to being.
  • The entire things changes in August 2019 onwards. This needs deeper analysis rather than who are the players. As of today, the players are actually the NSCN (IM), Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and the government of India on the other side.




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