Centre ready with Naga proposals
Guwahati, Nov. 29: The 12-year-old Naga talks have reached a decisive phase with the Centre now ready with its own set of proposals for discussion with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).
Union home secretary G.K. Pillai today said the government has invited the NSCN (I-M) leadership for a discussion on the proposals.
“We have invited them to discuss the proposals,” Union home secretary G.K. Pillai said today, adding that the outfit was yet to respond.
“The invitation was sent last week,” he said.
NSCN (I-M) Chairman Isak Chishi Swu and its General Secretary Th. Muivah have been holding talks with the government since the ceasefire in 1997.
“They (the leaders) live in different places and would need to consult among themselves before getting back to us. This might take a little time,” Pillai said.
He also said the talks would be held in the country but declined to divulge the framework of the proposals without first placing it before the NSCN (I-M).
“We have to discuss the proposals with them first,” he said.
A source said with the Centre now ready with the proposals, the long drawn dialogue with the NSCN (I-M) could reach its logical conclusion.
“This is the decisive stage. Much consultation have taken place over the past 12 years and more. The government’s proposals in response to the NSCN (I-M) would now pitchfork the process of dialogue towards a final settlement,” a source said.
The proposals were worked out after the government held wide-ranging discussions with Naga civil society, tribal Hohos and other principal organisations of Nagas from Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh besides Nagaland.
During his visit to Nagaland in October, Pillai had said the government was working out a solution that would be “honourable and acceptable” to both the Centre and Naga people.
The government’s proposals do not have any economic clauses, as the NSCN (I-M) had not asked for any economic package when it had submitted its own set of proposals.
The underlying principle of the NSCN (I-M)’s proposals was the “basic urge of the Nagas to manage their own affairs according to their own genius without undue interference from outside”.
Given the Naga “desire” to run their own affairs, the NSCN (I-M) said it was of vital importance to agree upon allocation of competencies, some of which would be exercised only by Nagaland government. Some responsibilities will be jointly held by the Nagaland government and the Centre while others only by the government of India.
It said the Centre would be responsible for the external defence, foreign affairs, currency and communications.
About security forces, it said the Nagaland government would have its own armed forces, which will be exclusively responsible for the internal security of Nagaland, while the armed forces of India and some from Nagaland will be jointly responsible to tackle external threats.
Apart from security forces, 21 other subjects for discussion will range from customs duty to naming of the legislature as Tatar Hoho to control over the state’s natural resources.
On the contentious issue of integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas into one administrative entity, the NSCN (I-M) said the government would have to take “active measures” to address it.
The source said this was the “tricky” area, which could make or mar everything.
“Both the government and the NSCN (I-M) have to display exemplary diplomacy and flexibility to seal the issue once and for all,” he said.