It appears that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is heading the BJP led NDA Government, is putting the brakes on an early settlement to the Naga political issue. After the initial push to conclude more than 20 years of the Indo-Naga peace process, the Modi government’s new thinking on the Naga issue is to bring other Naga groups other than the NSCN (IM) to the negotiating table and make them part of an inclusive settlement. This new task is going to take some more time and therefore putting any deadline on a settlement is not a priority, it appears.
No deadline on settlement. Is this the Modi govt’s new thinking on the Naga political issue?
Naga Republic News
Government of India’s interlocutor on the Naga peace talks R.N. Ravi has reportedly told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram that “no deadline” could be fixed for the Naga peace agreement and talks were on with at least five or six Naga groups other than the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah). There is also public pressure on both Delhi and the NSCN (Khaplang) to enter into cease-fire and start negotiation.
A report in The Hindu newspaper published last month mentions about what Mr. Ravi is learnt to have told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. According to the media report, Mr Ravi told the committee that the NSCN-IM had been insisting that since it was the “legitimate Naga group”, negotiations should take place only with it but that was not the stand of the Government of India.
On August 3, 2015, it was Mr. Ravi who had signed the “Framework Agreement” on behalf of the Union Government with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) General Secretary Th. Muivah. The agreement was signed at the official residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and telecast live on national television with much fanfare.
As reported in The Hindu, Mr. Ravi, who was asked to appear before the panel to explain the status of the Naga peace deal, told Parliamentarians that the “Government of India wanted to take all the Naga groups on board.”
“All members wanted to know when the details of the framework agreement will be disclosed by the Centre? The Naga interlocutor said negotiations were still on and the Government of India was not comfortable with only one or two main groups such as the NSCN-IM coming on board, but wanted to take into the fold the other groups as well,” an MP who attended the meeting told The Hindu.
Interlocutor to the Indo-Naga peace, RN Ravi felicitated by Naga civil societies outside Dimapur Airport at a public reception on October 23, 2017. (Morung Photo)
It may be mentioned that the Parliamentary panel had summoned Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and interlocutor for Naga talks RN Ravi on November 27 to clarify on the Framework Agreement signed by the Government of India with the NSCN (I-M) in 2015.
According to reports, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by P Chidambaram, wanted “clarity” about the Framework Agreement that has been kept under tight wraps.
A Joint Intelligence Chief (JIC) with the Government of India, Mr Ravi is the chief interlocutor for the Naga peace talks. A 1976 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Kerala cadre, Mr. Ravi retired as Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau in 2012. The Modi government recently gave a year’s extension to Mr. Ravi.
Delhi is yet to spell out the details of the Framework Agreement with one security analyst pointing out whether the much “touted accord between the government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak Muivah) was a storm in a teacup to herald a notional achievement”.
The Parliamentary panel that had met earlier to discuss the security situation in the Northeast States had asked Mr. Ravi and Home Ministry officials to appear before it to discuss the Naga deal. The Government of India and the NSCN-IM had earlier issued a joint statement that they were “closer than ever before to the final settlement and hope to conclude it sooner than later.”
Even though President Ram Nath Kovind announced during the recently concluded Hornbill Festival of Nagaland that a final settlement to the Naga issue is round the corner, it appears that Delhi is still not prepared to roll out a settlement.
The latest statement from Mr Ravi who told the influential Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs that “no deadline could be fixed for final settlement of the Naga issue”, is perhaps a clear enough indication that the present political dispensation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not want to hastily conclude negotiations without getting all stakeholders onboard.
With inputs from The Hindu