North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Naga peace process

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Naga peace process

The article analyses the issue of Naga peace process and the problem of identifying the stakeholders in the process.

Naga Polity and aspirations

  • The  Nagas family comprises over 25 tribes.
  • Each of these is a proud owner and inheritor of a distinct culture, language, tradition and geography, supporting a distinct world view.
  • However, many Nagas aspire to Naga unity, and they view those tribal loyalties as residues of a premodern past and an obstacle to Naga solidarity.
  • Naga nationalism is connected with the idea Naga homeland  that includes contiguous areas in a number of Northeastern states, and even parts of Myanmar.

“Unique history” formulation

  • The source of the phrase can be traced back to a joint communiqué that NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and former Home Secretary K Padmanabhaiah signed in Amsterdam on July 11, 2002.
  • Meaning of the phrase “unique history” is not self-explanatory.
  • Despite the lack of clarity, it is adopted by officials and political leaders intended to accept two things-
  • (a) the characterisations long favoured by security bureaucrats of the Naga political struggle as a separatist insurgency or a terrorist movement that makes false claims to Naga unity, are inaccurate and
  • (b) rejecting those labels [ such as separatist insurgency or terrorist movement] is a necessary condition for negotiations based on mutual respect.
  • Those are significant achievements that should not be allowed to wither away.

Negotiating with NSCN-IM and issues with it

  • NSCN-IM had declared the Shillong Accord of 1975 a sellout, and a betrayal of the Naga cause.
  • But it emerged as a serious political force precisely because it stood for Naga unity.
  • However, it is argued that NSCN-IM’s appeal is limited to the Tangkhul tribes of Manipur only.

Consider the question “The issues of identifying the stakeholders in the Naga peace process is at the root of the solution to the peace problem. Also, examine the other factors which make the resolution elusive. Suggest the measures to resolve the issue.”

Conclusion

That a more nuanced negotiating strategy is now emerging is a positive development. But the fundamental question about who all the stakeholders in the Naga conflict are, still needs a satisfactory answer, one that is based on an in-depth mapping of the conflict. Only then can we expect peaceful dialogue and patient negotiations to end the conflict and bring about a durable peace.

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