TODAY -

Naga peace talks : From deadlock to 'imposed solution' ?
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: December 17 2020 -



NSCN-IM Chairman Q Tuccu's statement, "We will always stick with the Framework Agreement and abide by it but any imposed solution will not be acceptable to the Naga People" evokes some serious questions.

It was for the first time that a top NSCN-IM leader openly spoke of 'imposed solution'.

Does it indicate changes in the rhetoric and approach of the negotiators representing the Government of India? Does the NSCN-IM leadership sense any domineering posture on the part of New Delhi?

In fact, Q Tuccu's statement is pregnant with disturbing implications given the repeated declarations from both New Delhi and NSCN-IM leadership that the long drawn political dialogue is on the verge of conclusion.

Indeed, the political diaogue has traversed a long and tortuous journey.

Although the political dialogue was confined between New Delhi and NSCN-IM for a long time, seven other Naga militant outfits under the banner of the Working Group of Naga National Political Groups joined the dialogue process in 2017.

While-many hailed this move as a significant step towards taking all Naga militant groups on board the dialogue process, it also heralded a new dynamics of negotiation.

Soon after, the NNPGs too became a dialogue partner and NSCN-IM lost its position of being the sole party mandated to negotiate with the Government of India on behalf of Naga people.

Taking the NNPGs on board the dialogue process was a very significant step.

This step sent an unmistakable message that NSCN-IM does not carry all the mandate of Naga people, thereby undermining its position of being the principal negotiator.

At the same time, the Govern- merit of India successfully transformed the dialogue process into an inclusive process by taking along the NNPGs.

As manifested by their contradictory standpoints on the issue of separate flag and constitution, there is no synergy between NSCN-IM and NNPGs.

While NSCN-IM has been refusing to sign any solution sans provisions for separate flag and constitution, the NNPGs are willing to deal with the same issue after signing an accord.

What are rather bewildering are the media reports that the Government of India would sign a final deal with or without NSCN-IM.

Juxtaposition of this standpoint of New Delhi with NSCN-IM Chairman Q Tuccu's recent statement about 'imposed solution' throws up a very disappointing picture.

If the news reports are any indication, NSCN-IM's insistence for a separate flag and separate constitution for the Nagas is the principal bone of contention.

What is rather surprising is New Delhi's readiness to seal a final deal to the protracted dialogue with or without NSCN-IM.

A Naga solution without NSCN-IM- can never be complete, howsoever its de- mands are unacceptable to New Delhi.

The protracted political dialogue cannot be termed a success if the final settlement is not affirmed by any of the stakeholder.

New Delhi needs to learn a lesson or two from the Shillong Accord even if the objective conditions have changed.

The Government of India negotiated the Shillong Accord with some moderate Naga leaders within the NNC, not with the collective leadership of the outfit, and the accord was signed in 1975.

As expected, many leaders and cadres were disillusioned and disappointed at the manner how their leaders negotiated with the Government of India and what they got from the accord.

The radicals quickly capitalised the situation and formed the NSCN which soon intensified the war against the Government of India.

In fact, the Shillong Accord was the immediate and most prominent factor for the rise of NSCN after their leaders split from the NNC leadership.

The new leadership also condemned those who signed the Shillong Accord as betrayers.

Coming to the present peace talks, it must be acknowledged that there is no meeting point between the Government of India and NSCN-IM on the latter's demand for separate flag and constitution, as asserted by Government of India's interlocutor RN Ravi.

To break the deadlock, either of the two negotiating parties or both must concede something.

If both the parties choose to stick to their guns, there would not be any solution to the political dialogue. As for 'imposed solution', it is as good as no solution.



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