No time frame for Naga talks: Ravi

 IMPHAL, APR 6: Government of India’s interlocutor for Naga talks and chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), R.N. Ravi has ruled out any time frame for a result-oriented end to the decades old talks with the NSCN (I-M).

Ravi, who is in Manipur along with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Core Group to monitor the security scenario along the Indo-Myanmar border area, Monday said: “The government has not given any timeline to end the talks. I have no knowledge of it but we are trying to come to a logical conclusion as early as possible.”

The question was raised by media persons here, following BJP-led NDA Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s conviction that the vexed Naga issue should be resolved at the earliest.

Earlier, was reported that the Government of India had assured NSCN (I-M) leadership in December, 2014 that the political dialogue would be brought to a logical conclusion within the next 18 months.

It may also be recalled, that in an interview with a media house, Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang said: “Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) have told us that the government has decided to adopt time-bound discussion to resolve the six-decade-old separatist Naga movement.”

However, Zeliang refused to reveal the formula for a lasting solution to the six-decade-old separatist movement in the state. As Modi’s eyes are set to have a peaceful Northeast to help expand trade with South Asia, he has reportedly instructed Ravi to come out with a proposed settlement that could be a final solution to the simmering Naga issue. Sources said, Ravi has been asked to try and clinch a solution preferably within a year to 18 months.

On Monday, the three-member MHA delegation (Core Group) that include– joint secretary (NE) Shambhu Singh and joint secretary (Border Management) HK Makwana– led by RN Ravi was scheduled to visit Behiang in Churachandpur bordering Myanmar by chopper. However, due to inclement weather conditions, the visit was cancelled.

The team was also scheduled to visit other border areas in Chandel and Ukhrul districts to take firsthand account of the security scenario.

On Tuesday, the MHA team would be visiting Jessami village bordering Nagaland. The team is likely to visit Nagaland from Jessami, though no official intimation was received. Due to inclement weather conditions, the travel itinerary may be changed, source said.

Earlier during the day, the Core Group held talks with top officials of the state, discussing key security related issues including the increasing trend of ambushing security forces in the border areas, cross-border smuggling of drugs and weapons etc.

Ravi also collected a first-hand report from the Assam Rifles, regarding inconveniences being faced by the forces while taking up security measures to fight militants operating in border areas. The team also reviewed the law and order situation in Manipur where officials including Manipur police chief, Sahid Ahmed were present at the meeting. Joint secretary (NE), Shambu Singh told reporters that the delegation has been tasked to review the security situation particularly related with insurgency.

He pointed out that the Centre was concerned over cross-border smuggling of drugs and weapons along the Indo-Myanmar border and increasing trend of ambushing security forces in the border areas.

Government of India’s decision to alleviate interlocutor RN Ravi to Cabinet status is a very significant step towards expediting the peace process.

Former interlocutor K Padmanabhaih was not given Cabinet status. As such, the latest developments of the peace parleys could not reach the Government of India on time. It took considerable time seeking appointments with the Prime Minister.

With RN Ravi now given Cabinet status, he can meet and apprise the Prime Minister any time about the latest developments of the political dialogue.

Several rounds of peace parleys have been held between the Government of India and NSCN (I-M) since the two sides signed the cease-fire agreement on August, 1997.


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