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Amit Kumar asked: What are the current demands of the Naga insurgent groups, particularly NSCN (IM), and status of talks with the Indian Government?

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  • Namrata Goswami replies: The current demands of the NSCN (IM) continue to be informed by their earlier demands for sovereignty and independence of Naga areas from India. While that is their stated political position, there have been underlying changes in terms of how the group has re-framed its focus from independence to greater Naga territorial unification within India. Therefore, in the latest speeches and statements by the leaders of the NSCN (IM), Naga territorial unification, which apart from Nagaland includes the hill districts of Manipur, namely, Chandel, Tamenglong, Senapati and Ukhrul; and the hill districts of Assam, along with Tirap and Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh, has become the core demand.

    The talks between the union government and the NSCN (IM) is now concentrated on finding a framework that can meet their demand without, of course, stoking political anxieties in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. These three states are opposed to re-demarcation of their territory for fulfilling the NSCN (IM)'s agenda.

    The Naga conflict is actually witnessing certain positive changes that needs to be emphasised: first, violence levels have gone down in Naga areas; second, the cease-fire has been extended indefinitely; third, the peace talks have continued since 1997 without break; and fourth, the talks have seen involvement of not just the peace interlocutors but also the prime ministers of India, who have invested their time and energy in ensuring that a resolution framework is worked out.

    You could also refer to my IDSA publication on this issue: “The Naga Armed Conflict: Is a Resolution Finally Here?”, November 08, 2012.