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Parithosh Desai asked: What is the current status of Naga peace accords/talks? What are the objectives that the Nagas and the Government hope to achieve from these talks?

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  • M. Amarjeet Singh replies: The government has been making sincere efforts to end the decades old Naga insurgency through political negotiations. In the past, efforts aimed at finding a political settlement to the conflict were rebuffed by the insurgent leadership. However, in recent years, the government has been able to engage the Naga leadership particularly the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) or NSCN (I-M), resulting in the signing of a ‘Framework Agreement’ in August 2015, the details of which are not available in public domain.

    Although NSCN (I-M) has not publicly dropped its demand for independence, it has nevertheless shown willingness to soften its stand on the issue if the Naga people could be brought together under a single politico-administrative entity. The NSCN (I-M) leadership has been trying to convince its supporters assuring them of a solution based on the unique history and situation of the Nagas. It is however quite clear that the idea of bringing the various Naga-inhabited areas under a single politico-administrative entity is not likely to go unchallenged from Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

    Though unification of Naga-inhabited areas without disturbing the existing boundaries of the northeastern states (Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh) is viewed as a viable option, the non-Nagas remain apprehensive of the idea in view of lack of clarity and also given the historical and socio-political complexities involved. Moreover, other ethnic groups too are likely to be tempted to demand a similar arrangement. Likewise, the suggestion to extend Article 371(A) of the constitution – a special provision with respect to the State of Nagaland – to the Naga-dominated areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam as well is viewed with scepticism by the non-Nagas.

    As the latest initiative taken by the government is still a work in progress, not much can be stated about its exact status at this juncture. Given the conflicting/divergent perceptions prevalent among key stakeholders in the region, one cannot expect concrete irreversible outcomes in a short span of time. Any attempt to rush into a peace accord without proper groundwork is bound to prove counter-productive.

    For more on the subject, please refer to my following publication:

    Editor’s Note: Please also refer to the following publications on/related to the subject available on IDSA website:

    Dr. M. Amarjeet Singh was a researcher at IDSA. He is currently Professor at Centre for North East Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

    Posted on September 19, 2018