Bangkok, June 29: India’s Northeast will gradually witness a sea change with the new government committed to finding a solution to the militancy issue, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, noting that peace talks will henceforth be action-oriented.
Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said several militant groups had sent feelers that they were keen to come over ground and hold talks. “Some militant groups are likely to surrender in coming months you will see,” Rijiju said. He, however, did not elaborate.
Rijiju was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Bangkok, Thailand, where he was leading an Indian delegation.
The minister who has been given the charge of the northeast region emphasised that he wanted talks to be focused on reaching a solution. “I want action-oriented talks. I want a solution, and don’t want to see the talks drag on forever. The talks with the militant groups have to be comprehensive,” he said.
Rijiju observed that a mechanism had to be worked out to hold result-oriented talks. “We don’t want a scenario where there is a short ceasefire during the talks and the militants regroup and become stronger in the jungles, in the event the talks fail.”
He was of the view that the interlocutor at the talks had to be empowered. “When an interlocutor talks with militants he has no mandate to talk to other civil societies. He must be empowered to look at the trail of the activities of various organisations linked to these groups, who all they are associated with,” he said.
The minister said officials had already been told to prepare and initiate dialogues. “I have asked them to give me status of talks so far,” he said.
“With ULFA (in Assam) and NSCN (in Nagaland) we need a little more time to bring them on board and find a solution,” he acknowledged. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has clearly stated that North East India will be developed but this is possible only when peace is in the land,” he added.
Rijiju said Prime Minister Modi had clearly stated that the northeastern states will be lifted on par with some of the most developed states in western India, and that is only possible when peace comes to the northeast.
“My work begins there,” Rijiju said. “I have full charge of the northeast (NE) division and told representatives from some militant groups see here is your man in Delhi (the minister), and this is your best chance to come on board and shun violence,” he said.