Govt, Naga rebels sign historic peace accord

The centre on Monday signed a historic peace accord with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), successfully concluding a six decade-long dialogue on the Naga political issue. The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the signing and exchange of peace accord between government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagaland, in New Delhi on 3 August 2015  

Government's interlocutor for Naga peace talks R N Ravi signed the agreement on behalf of the government of India. Isak Chishi Swu, chairman and Th Muivah, general secretary were the signatories on behalf of the NSCN.

The entire top leadership of the NSCN (IM), including all members of the ''collective leadership'', has fully endorsed the agreement and was present during the ceremony.

This agreement will end the oldest insurgency in the country. It will restore peace and pave the way for prosperity in the North East. It will advance a life of dignity, opportunity and equity for the Naga people, based on their genius and consistent with the uniqueness of the Naga people and their culture and traditions, a government release said.

Attempts were made from time to time to resolve the issue through discussion with representatives of the Naga people. A fresh attempt for a comprehensive resolution was initiated with the NSCN in 1997.
 
The new government, which assumed power in May 2014, followed an 'Act East' policy and accorded high priority to this lingering problem.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, on a number of occasions, including during visits to the Northeast region, articulated his vision for transforming the Northeast and has attached the highest priority to peace, security, connectivity and economic development in the region.

This has also been at the heart of the government's foreign policy, especially 'Act East' Policy.

The government said the accord is the result of sustained dialogue between the two sides, conducted in a spirit of equality, respect and trust, which deepened mutual understanding and confidence, and enabled the two sides to reach an equitable agreement.

''The government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.

The NSCN understood and appreciated the Indian political system and governance,''a government media statement said.

The government interlocutor also held frequent consultations with broad spectrum of Naga leaders, including those from the traditional tribal bodies, civil society, youth and student bodies, women's groups, elected representatives and other stakeholders.

These consultations helped in distilling the popular aspirations of the Naga people and in enhancing a healthy atmosphere of trust and understanding, according to the government.

In his statement at the signing ceremony, the prime minister lauded the courage and wisdom of the Naga leaders and civil society and thanked them for their co-operation in reaching the agreement.

He also praised the Naga people for their support and the NSCN for maintaining the ceasefire for nearly two decades that enabled the dialogue to succeed.

The prime minister spoke of his vision for the transformation of the Northeast region. He also expressed confidence that the agreement would open a glorious new chapter for the Naga people to build a bright future for Nagaland and also contribute to the nation with a sense of pride and confidence.

Th Muivah, general secretary of NSCN, narrated the history of Nagas' struggle and thanked the prime minister for his vision and resolve, which made it possible for the government of India and the NSCN to reach an honourable settlement.

The framework agreement, details and execution plan will be released shortly, the release said.