Nagalim: Talks in Limbo, Peace Eludes Nagaland
The Naga peace talks are in its 10th year now, but there is no sign of a breakthrough with neither the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) nor
The NSCN-IM and
The central government and the NSCN-IM have held more than 50 rounds of peace talks to end one of South Asia's longest-running insurgencies that have claimed around 25,000 lives since
The NSCN-IM, led by guerrilla leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, had proposed 'a special federal arrangement' which enables the Nagas to govern themselves.
There has been no official statement from
The NSCN-IM wants a special federal relationship with
The NSCN-IM has been struggling for nearly six decades to have a 'Greater Nagaland' by getting parts of three neighbouring states sliced off to unite 1.2 million Nagas. The demand is strongly opposed by the states of
'The government of
While the NSCN-IM has been adopting a belligerent posture on its demands, the government is yet to come up with a concrete strategy to resolve the insurgency. Dragging the talks could turn out to be counter-productive and derail the entire peace process with the NSCN-IM time and again threatening to go back to the jungles.
The road to peace in Nagaland is turning out to be a real bumpy one with the Indian government now faced with even bigger challenges in preparing a definite roadmap to address the rebels' demands.
Conceding their demands would be a tough proposition as any move to merge Naga-inhabited areas in the northeast could lead to a rebellion in the neighbouring states. Moreover, the question of allowing the Nagas to have their own constitution will in all probability not be acceptable to
'The government could think of a massive development plan in the form of financial packages and even consider granting greater autonomy,' an analyst said.
The NSCN-IM is also in a sticky wicket - having climbed down from its demand for an independent Naga homeland outside the Indian union, the rebel leadership is now harping on the theme of Greater Nagaland and a special federal relationship. Fresh turmoil in Nagaland seems inevitable unless the rebel leadership shows flexibility and the government negotiators too work overtime with a certain amount of seriousness to find a solution.