Jan 31, 2005

Nagalim: NSCN Leaders in Delhi for Next Round of Talks

NSCN leaders are in Delhi for the next round of talks with the Government to find a solution to the Nagaland problem
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NSCN (I-M) leaders are in Delhi for the next round of talks with the Government to find a solution to the Nagaland problem. The talks will go on from February 3 to February 5. Chairman of NSCN (I-M) Isak Chisi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah arrived here late last night. It is learnt that Swu is scheduled to leave India after the talks while Muivah is expected to go back to Nagaland to hold consultations with his people. Talks will be opened by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil. He will introduce the three-member ministerial team representing the Centre to the Naga leaders. The ministerial team is assisted by National Security Advisor (NSA) M.K. Narayanan, Home Secretary D. Singh and Centre’s interlocutor K. Padmanabhaiah. The Naga leadership is also likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the talks.

It is understood that in this round of talks the two sides — the Government and the NSCN (I-M) — will present their positions on key issue like sovereignty of Nagaland and integration of Naga inhabited areas. Senior officials said though ‘‘historic’’ in nature, the talks are unlikely to achieve a major breakthrough. According to them the Goverment’s strategy would be to first discuss issues where a compromise is possible and leave the difficult issues to the later stages of the talks. It is understood that the Government is not against considering issues that relate to special status for Nagaland, a special financial package and sovereignty of Nagaland within the Constitution of India.

On the other hand, Naga leaders will state their position on the substantive issues and are likely to use the two-day Naga People’s Consultative meet at Camp Hebron as the backdrop to this. Government sources, however, indicated that the Naga leadership is unlikely to adopt a hardline approach. Officials argued that Naga leadership is aware of the ground realities, the possibilities and the desires of the people of Nagaland. ‘‘Both sides are keen that talks succeed paving the way for solution to the longstanding problem,’’ said a senior government official. The Naga leaders have already consulted a cross-section of people back home to assess their views. It held a two-day Naga People’s consultative meet on the on-going peace process at Camp Hebron, the headquarters of the NSCN(I-M). The forces and NCSN (I-M) had reached a ceasefire accord in 1997 that has been holding since then.