New Delhi, Aug 4: With an aim of ending insurgency in Nagaland, government today signed an accord with key outfit NSCN(IM) which Prime Minister Narendra Modi described as a “historic” step to usher in peace in the state.
The pact was signed in the presence of the Prime Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval by the outfit’s leader T Muivah and government’s interlocutor R N Ravi at the PM’s residence here.
The signing of the pact is the culmination of over 80 rounds of negotiations that spanned 16 years with first breakthrough in 1997 when ceasefire agreement was sealed.
While the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isaac-Muivah) is the biggest Naga rebel group which has been maintaining the ceasefire, another faction led by S S Khaplang continues to indulge in violence and was believed to be behind the deadly attack on army in Manipur in June that left 18 soldiers dead and 18 injured.
It was not immediately clear whether the agreement meets the main demand of NSCN(IM) for integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the North East across Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
Details and execution plan within this framework agreement will be released shortly, official sources said after the accord in which Doval played the central role.
Describing the accord as “historic”, Modi said, “Today, we mark not merely the end of a problem, but the beginning of a new future.”
The Prime Minister: “The Naga problem has taken so long to resolve because we did not understand each other. It is a legacy of British rule. The colonial rulers had by design kept the Nagas isolated and insulated. They propagated terrible myths about the Nagas in the rest of the country.”
He further said: “I have the deepest admiration for the great Naga people for their extraordinary support to the peace efforts. My relationship with the North-East has been deep. I have travelled to Nagaland on many occasions.”
“I have been deeply impressed by the rich and diverse culture and the unique way of life of the Naga people. The Naga courage and commitment are legendary. Equally, they represent the highest levels of humanism,” he said.
Asserting that the Nagas will remember Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statesmanship, NSCN’s Thuingaleng Muivah said the latter can be trustworthy and taken into confidence for any policy for the North-East.
After signing of a historic peace accord between Government of India and Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Muivah said: “On behalf of the Naga people I want to assure you once again that the Nagas can be trustworthy and taken into confidence for any policy for the Northeast.”
“Today under the visionary leadership of honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we have come close to understand each other and have worked out a new relationship between the two parties. The Nagas will remember you for your statesmanship and your profound understanding of Nagas with warm heart for them,” he added.
(With Agency Inputs)