Speech of Gen. (Retd) Vs. Atem, UNPO

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim and all the Naga people, I would like to thank the UNPO for all the troubles it has taken for us. Our Collective Leadership, Mr.Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman and Mr. Th Muivah, General Secretary of the NSCN, was very much willing to come to participate in this UNPO 20th Anniversary Celebration, but because of tight schedule at home, they are unable to attend this meeting. However, they are sending their highest regards to all the former and present UNPO Officials and their best wishes for the success of this Celebration.

I would like to brief you on the Indo-Naga peace process in the following way:

Indian Army Generals, including Chief of the Army Staff, having realized the futility of seeking solution through military might, declared that military solution was impossible as the Indo-Naga conflict is a political issue.

At the invitation of P.V. Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister of India, our Collective Leadership met with him in Paris on June 12, 1995. During the meeting, the Prime Minister proposed political dialogue to resolve our political problems. In response, our Collective Leadership said to him. “Okay, Mr. Prime Minister, why don’t you talk with Khaplang group and NNC? We will not stand in the way, but we will not be a party to it.”The PM replied: “Why should I talk with them? The issue is not with them. The issue is with you. The people are with you, and so if we talk with you, we believe solution can be worked out. I will not talk with others. I know who they are. They are in my hands. Then our Collective Leadership said to him. “It seems there are two Prime Ministers in India.”He replied: “I know who is who; I will not allow ansyone to stand in the way. I will deal with the issue by myself”. So our Collective Leadership accepted his proposal to initiate the peace process.

The Indian negotiators and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) arrived at a basic agreement on November 17, 1996 – unconditional talks, talks at the highest level which is at the Prime Ministerial level   and talks outside India.

On July 25, 1997, the President of the Republic of Nagalim announced in the UNPO Secretariat, the Hague that the Ceasefire between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim will be effective from August 1, 1997.

It was also agreed that the ceasefire agreement is between the government of India and the NSCN as two entities without territorial limits (joint statement on June 14, 2001).

In its 3rd Naga consultation Meeting, from May 6 – 10, 2002, 73 Naga delegates representing Naga Hoho, the Churches and mass-based civil society organizations solemnly declared that they fully support the ongoing political negotiation between the Government of India and the NSCN.

In its 4th Naga people’s consultation to strengthen the Indo-Naga political talks, from Jan. 20-21, 2005, Naga people and their civil society organizations covering across the length and breadth of Naga Homeland reaffirmed declared their fullest support for an honorable and acceptable solution to the Indo-Naga political issue on the basis of the uniqueness of Naga history and situation.

Government of India has agreed and recognized officially the unique history and situation of the Nagas. Congress–led coalition government has officially given its commitment: “There must be solution through peaceful means. And that solution must be honorable and acceptable to both”.

As the NSCN has rejected any approach from the Indian constitutional perspective, the P.M of India gave the commitment: “We have to work out the solution from outside the box”.

It is now more than 13 years since we have been negotiating with the Government of India. Solution could be worked out basing only on the historical facts and political rights of the Nagas.

If both the parties could go by the commitment of the Indian Prime Minister, solution may not be far off though it has taken a long time. The greatest question now lies in how far Indian leadership could be sincere in their commitment.

The Naga people are still committed to peaceful solution if that could be honorable.

Thank You

The Hague                                                                                           Gen. (Rtd). V.S. Atem

February 11, 2011

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