By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury for Economic Times
With an eye on stitching up the elusive Naga Peace Accord, the BJP is not just working hard to cobble up a government of its choice in Nagaland, but is also choreographing its moves with the Centre which has got Myanmar to politically squeeze the Naga rebels on the other side of the border.
And how? By reaching an understanding with the Myanmar government for it to offer negotiations to NSCN (Khaplang) to reach a settlement within Myanmarese territory.
The NSCN (K)’s demand for a Greater Nagaland involves territorial claims within Myanmar. So, while the group did respond to the initial meetings under Myanmar government’s larger initiative called the Pangong Conference for engaging with other ethnic groups, it did not attend the third meet in February.
Both India and Myanmar have been exchanging notes on their conversations with various Naga groups, particularly NSCN (K). Probably, a bit suspicious of being politically played at both ends, the group is said to have told its Myanmarese interlocutors that these conferences were Myanmar’s internal matter.
The objective of the Panglong process is to finally ink a nationwide ceasefire agreement with these groups. The best outcome thus for India and Myanmar would be to stitch up agreements with Naga rebels on both sides, upholding sovereignty of both countries.
But NSCN (K) chairman Khango Konyak is still staying away from the talks. He was also waiting for the election outcome in Nagaland.
U Aung Min, former railway minister of Myanmar and the key person in the process to reach settlement with the ethnic groups, has been in touch with the NSCN-K.
Prior to his death, SS Khaplang is said to have been in touch with the Myanmar government for a peace treaty. However, no such pact has been reached so far despite all the reachout and group’s connections with the regional government in the Sagaing Division of Myanmar.
Those familiar with Aung Min’s discussions with Khaplang told ET that the Myanmarese minister had made it clear to the Naga leader that his country intends to preserves its territorial integrity, and does not support creation of Greater Nagaland. Myanmar has established a Naga self-administered Area in Lahe, Leshi and Nanyun townships. Khaplang was advised to reside in Myanmar and prevent attacks on Indian territory. He was even warned that Mynamar could rescind the offer of a regional ceasefire agreement if cross-border raids into India continue.