Nov 06, 2007

Nagalim: Naga Leader Willing To Compromise

After a recent round of talks with the Indian government, Naga leader T. Muivah presented his party’s proposition for cooperation with India by suggesting close but separate federation.

After a recent round of talks with the Indian government, Naga leader T. Muivah presented his party’s proposition for cooperation with India by suggesting close but separate federation.

Below is an article by Asia News International:

The General Secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), Isak-Muivah, has for the first time made it clear that he is not seeking independence from India, but wants a special type of relationship with the country.

In a free wheeling interview with ANI in Delhi, Muivah underlined the limitation of the NSCN (IM)'s compromise on the issue of sovereignty. He also appreciated the centre's concern on the issue of the country's security in Nagaland.

"It should be a type of federation-federation to be bound up in such a way that neither side be detrimental to the interests of other. That means almost being one, bound up", said the veteran insurgent leader, who was in Delhi for talks with the Indian Government.

When asked what that federal relationship meant, Muivah underlined the bold steps that his outfit is willing to take to guarantee India's security and strategic concerns in the bordering states of Nagaland.

"Bold steps when we say Nagaland must be defended by India in the event of external threat, it must serve the interest of India. It amounts to defending the security of India. When it comes to the content of External Affairs, the primary responsibility must be taken by India. We will accept the Indian currency. With regard to Naga identity, the Naga should never be expected to abandon their being Naga, their identity involves the citizenship of Nagaland and at the same time the citizenship of India. More than that what do you expect from the Naga", emphasized NSCN (IM) leader.

Muivah was at pains to point out that despite so much of "coming down" from our original position, the Indian Government is not showing the sincerity required to solve the problem.

He blamed a "hardcore" group from the government side who are "coming in the way of progress in talks".

When asked to react on Muivah's formulation of an Indo- Naga relationship, a senior Central Government official said that the government is approaching the talks with an "open mind".

The centre is concerned about the outfit's continued relationship with China since the sixties. Muivah in the initial years of his insurgent career walked down to China to get training.

When asked about his reported departure to Europe in near future, Muivah did not deny it.

"Yes, nothing positive happens, I need to go off for sometime and whenever necessary I can come back".

The two sides recently concluded talks on the ninth of this month [October 2007]. A glimmer of hope, however, seems to be there with both parties deciding to form committees to discuss core issues. The discussion in the committees will decide the contour of the next round of talks.

When the ceasefire was extended for the indefinite period on July 31 [2007], it was hailed as a landmark development. In the previous round of talks held abroad and in New Delhi, the NSCN-IM had submitted a charter of demands to the Government that included the creation of a separate Constitution for Nagaland, a "new and unique" relationship with New Delhi and unification of Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

But these three states have rejected the demand.

In the Bangkok talks held last year [2006], both sides had agreed on a broad framework to define a relationship that could end Naga insurgency.

There was, however, confusion over the parameters of the broad framework.

Muivah arrived in India in December last year [2006], while Swu came to the country in the first week of January [2007]. Since then, they have been in Nagaland for discussions with NSCN-IM cadres and civil society and political leaders on the group's key demands.