NEW DELHI: The Union Government on Monday signed a historic peace accord with Nagaland’s insurgent group, the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), aiming at ending the country’s longest running insurgency for the last two decades.
Ahead of the 68th Independence Day, the signing of the pact is the culmination of over 80 rounds of negotiations that spanned 16 years with the first breakthrough in 1997 when a ceasefire agreement was sealed.
This was announced at a joint event at the Prime Minister’s residence in the presence of Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, government officials and NSCN(I-M) chief Thuingaleng Muivah along with other leaders of the group.
Interlocutor for Naga peace talks R N Ravi signed the agreement on behalf of the Government. Chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Muivah were the signatories on behalf of the NSCN. The entire top leadership of the NSCN(IM), including all members of the “collective leadership,” fully endorsed the agreement and were present during the ceremony, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office.
Though the government has not released the details and execution plan framework, it is unclear whether the agreement meets key demands of NSCN(IM) for integration of all Naga inhabited areas in the North-East across Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is believed to have played a key role in concluding the historic agreement.
“This is not merely the end of a problem but the beginning of a new future,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the event, adding that the landmark accord signalled the end of six decades of insurgency. “We will not only try to heal wounds and resolve problems, but also be your partner as you restore your pride and prestige,” Modi said. “I thank God for this momentous occasion. Naga people have great respect for Mahatma Gandhi. We appreciate the statesmanship of (former PM) Atal Behari Vajpayee,” Muivah said.