The massacres in Manipur – of security personnel by militants and vice versa – had made people fear of insurgency taking centre stage of the region once again. This week, the pact between government of India and NSCN-IM negated that fear. It rekindled a hope for peace in the North-east. The agreement is expected to have a lasting impact in changing the growth pattern of the region in the coming years. Attendance of the trio – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval – besides NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah and interlocutor RN Ravi, itself shows the importance of the agreement. There were also other NSCN-IM top functionaries present at the signing of the historic pact on August 3. Isak Chisi Swu, who along with Muivah gave birth to NSCN-IM, was not present due to his ill health.
Neither any national nor regional media had any inkling of the meeting until the government announced it. By then it was all over, there were no scope for the media to hold lengthy discussions on possible lines of agreement at the meeting. There was no time even for pressure groups, other militant groups and the state governments concerned to react either. The government and also the NSCN-IM still have kept the document secret. The details are still awaiting an opportune moment to be disclosed to the public. There are speculations that NSCN-IM might have compromised on its age-old demand for greater Nagalim. The very secrecy maintained by both ends show that the agreement must be a huge departure from the original demands of the rebel outfit, which was born out the Naga independence struggle fought since India’s independence.
There is good ground to assume that Nagalim, a demand to expand the territory of Nagaland by bringing in Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, was not what the Union government agreed to. If not, it will create huge chaos in the three states, already troubled in various troubles including insurgency. The rejuvenated BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the last to take upon itself any blame for such trouble, especially when election in Assam is due early next year. The agreement is also a sign of the new government’s seriousness towards bringing positive changes in the region. This will ultimately open new vistas for the country in the south-east Asian region. Peace is a pre-condition for growth. It (peace) should be welcome even if it comes at the cost of changing administrative set-ups, altering boundaries etc.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on August 8, 2015)