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Amit Rathee asked: What is the difference in the nature of internal security challenges in Nagaland and Manipur?

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  • Namrata Goswami replies: The nature of internal security challenges in Nagaland and Manipur has certain common factors, but also significant differences. The common factors are that both the states are affected by ethnic conflicts over land and issues of identity, and suffer from extortion by armed groups and easy availability of arms. The situation in both the states is further complicated by overlapping state demands on the same piece of territory by the National Socialist Council of Nagalim led by Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah--NSCN (IM) and the NSCN--Khaplang (NSCN-K) in Nagaland, and by the NSCN (IM), the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Manipur.

    The differences are that unlike Nagaland where the conflict is mostly intra-ethnic, between the Naga armed groups; the conflict in Manipur is more intense as violence is inter-ethnic, as between Nagas and Meiteis and Nagas and Kukis. As a result, unlike Nagaland, where there are four major armed groups, Manipur suffers from nearly 32 different armed groups. This renders the atmosphere insecure. Unlike Nagaland, Manipur also suffers from deep seated hill-plain divide, where the Meiteis mostly inhabit the fertile Imphal valley, whereas the Nagas and Kukis live in the hill districts.

    The internal security challenges in Manipur are rather daunting. There are no significant peace talks between the union government and the PLA and the UNLF (neither groups have signed cease-fires); whereas in Nagaland, the peace process between the government and the NSCN (IM) and cease-fire with the NSCN (Khaplang) fosters a measure of accountability and stability.