TODAY -

Another peace deal sans solution to earlier pacts
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: September 10, 2021 -



FOR the Union government, signing of the ceasefire agreement with the Niki Sumi-led NSCN-K group on Wednesday will unarguably be counted as another historic achievement in its pursuit to establish order in the restive north-eastern region of the country.

The deal, which aimed at ceasing hostility with the armed group, whose leader Niki Sumi is the prime accused in the killing of 18 Indian Army soldiers in a remote area of Chandel district in 2015 and the National Investigation Agency announced Rs 10 lakh bounty on his arrest, will not provide any solace to the soldiers' bereaved families but such sentiment will not be given any weightage by the government for its objective is to showcase to the region's indigenes that New Delhi will strive to end the chronic insurgency problem at any cost.

The tragic death of the 18 personnel in one of the deadliest ambushes on central forces had jolted and awoken the people and policymakers of India to the fragile situation in the northeast region, Manipur in particular.

It even led to the central government despatching the then army chief and ordering military operation code-named 'Search and Destroy', while security officials renewed their defence for imposition of the draconian Armed Forces' Special Powers Act 1958 (AFSPA) in the state.

Interestingly, the Chandel attack also triggered debates and discussions over root cause of the insurgency problem from the historical context with some analysts cautioning that lack of eagerness on the part of both political and military leaderships to understand genesis of the armed movement and resolve to compassionately deal with the issue would continue to be the stumbling block towards maintaining peace in the region.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that for the Union government bringing more insurgent groups to the negotiating table will be accorded top priority so as to not only impress upon the remaining outfits that the Centre is ready to hear their grievances but also ring out the message to the commoners that the insurgency movement and waging war against the mandated establishment will lead to nowhere.

That this perception has some substance has been corroborated accordingly as the Home Ministry statement, with reference to the latest pact, inferred that the ceasefire agreement is a significant step in the Naga peace process and making the northeast insurgency-free.

One can only wait and watch whether or not, the pact with the Niki Sumi group will bring lasting peace in the northeast, but the agreement underscores that the insurgency movement has been of concern to the Union government.

Interestingly, the deal with the NSCN-K group led by Niki Sumi has come after over two decades of the Union government signing the Bangkok Declaration with the NSCN-IM on June 14, 2001 and on-going negotiations with the latter group consequent to the Framework Agreement signed in 2015.

In between, the Centre managed to strike deal with other breakaway factions of NSCN-IM and NSCN-K. All these deals signed with different groups of the NSCN, once considered to be the mother of insurgency movement in the region, imply that not every group subscribes to the idea propagated either by the parent organisation or the dominant factions.

However, having succeeded in ceasing hostility with almost all the Naga outfits, the task is now cut out forthe government to tactfully deal with the groups failing which possibility of upsurge in the insurgency movement in the northeast cannot be ruled out.



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