Talks between the Centre and the NSCN(IM) to find out a solution to the vexed Naga issue resumed on Monday, around two years after the deliberations stopped, a leader of the outfit said. The new interlocutor, AK Mishra, held talks with NSCN(IM) chief negotiator Thuingaleng Muivah at Dimapur in Nagaland.
Mishra replaced previous interlocutor RN Ravi who was also the governor of Nagaland till a few days ago. We re-affirmed the Framework Agreement in letter and spirit. That was the basic topic in today’s meeting, NSCN(IM) leader R Raising told journalists after the closed-door meeting. No comment was available from the government side on resumption of the peace talks.
The central government and the NSCN(IM) signed the Framework Agreement in 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after Independence in 1947.
The negotiations between the NSCN(IM) and the Centre had stopped following the former’s refusal to hold deliberations with Ravi after the October 31, 2019 talks in Dimapur. After we parted, the government of India invited us to resume the talks. A directive from the prime minister was sent that Mishra will be the representative of the central government to hold talks with the NSCN, Raising said.
Sources said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is likely to talk to NSCN(IM) leaders on Tuesday. On this, Raising said, We have never had talks with political leaders…. But we have to talk to political leaders if they are assigned by the central government.
There has been not much progress in the peace talks after the Centre in 2019 rejected the outfit’s demand for a separate flag and a constitution for the Nagas. Raising said an honourable solution to the seven-decades-old problem is not possible without a Naga flag and a constitution. The success of the peace talks would depend on the sincerity and commitment of both parties, he said.
Meanwhile, sources said Mishra is also likely to meet the Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) which has also signed the Agreed Position with the Centre in November 2017. The union government has been holding two separate parleys with the Naga negotiators NSCN(IM) since 1997 and thePGs comprising seven groups since 2017.