Naga Accord

Recent Updates:
The union government has extended the ceasefire with the two Naga armed factions, namely, National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Reformation (NSCN-R) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Neakpao-Kithovi (GPRN/NSCN) till April 27, 2018. A ceasefire is already in operation between the government and the Naga armed factions of NSCN-R and NSCN-NK.
In August 2015, a ‘framework agreement’ between the Central Government and the NSCN-IM was signed. The agreement brought to an end ‘almost two-decade-old’ ceasefire and endless rounds of ‘talks’ and has opened up avenues of peace talks with the militias.
Basic demands of Nagas:
Basic demand of Nagas is to form a pan-naga territorial state carving out regions from Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. They call it “Greater Nagaland” or “Nagalim”.
What is Centre’s interpretation of the Accord?
Mr. Muivah (leader of NSCN-IM) seems to have reconciled to
  • upholding allegiance to the Indian Constitution and
  • giving up his demand for ‘Nagalim’— a euphemism for a homeland for all Naga tribes of the Northeast. The latter would implicitly involve redrawing the boundaries of at least three States — Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
However, after talks, NSCN retracted and  they expect some sort of shared sovereignty
What is “Shared Sovereignty”?
Whether we are at the point of a ‘historic accord’ or a ‘framework agreement’, adherence to certain fundamental principles is vitally important. Accepting the Indian Constitution is an inalienable principle, and whether ‘shared sovereignty’ violates the basic principles of the Indian Constitution needs to be examined.
In past similar demands by other ethnic groups ex ULFA demanded ‘dual citizenship’.
‘Shared sovereignty’ also has implications and repercussions well beyond the borders of Nagaland, not only impacting States like Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, but many other regions of India as well.
The existence of different ethnic and tribal entities in the Northeast gives identity politics here special traction, and violence is often a given. Additionally, many pockets in the Northeast suffer from a sense of siege. Political narratives, hence, have to be carefully thought through, lest these foment newer demands, including that for territory. This could vitiate an already disturbed atmosphere.
The doctrine of ‘shared sovereignty’, for instance, can have unexpected consequences and  could open a Pandora’s Box of problems across the country. In the Northeast, ‘shared sovereignty’ will, almost immediately, give rise to a new round of violence, especially in Manipur, and to a lesser extent in Arunachal Pradesh.
It is imperative that prior to finalisation of any ‘framework agreement’, care is taken to see that there is an across the board acceptance of ‘fundamental principles’ and ‘objective necessities’. Different communities in the Northeast compete for power and rank, and an identity crisis afflicts most tribes and communities. It is essential that the special social mechanism that sustains tribal orthodoxy is not disturbed. Otherwise, it would have a tectonic impact on peace and tranquillity in the entire region.
Who are the stakeholder in this issue?
  1. The government of India and the state government of Nagaland who want the state to be a normal Indian state.
  2. The Church and citizens groups whose main intention is reconciliation among various Naga factions and maintain the peace.
  3. Rebel groups Mainly the NSCN-K (National Socialist Council of Nagaland which operates out of north western Myanmar and NSCN- IM which operates from within Indian Territory (Naga Hills).
  4. United Naga council from the Naga majority states in Manipur.
The demands of the stake holders evolved from original Naga demands for sovereign statehood to now, integration of all Naga- majority areas within India into Nagaland.
There are few possible solutions for the Naga conundrum,
  1. Enlarging the state by the unification of Naga districts of Manipur and other North-eastern states into Nagaland. This will be met with stiff resistance from the non- Naga Manipuri populace.
  2. Another, more drastic solution would be to seek the cooperation of Myanmar’s government and stop armed struggles from operating across the border between the countries.
The Naga issue has been festering for far too long and the sooner an amicable solution is reached, the better, as Nagaland is part of a porous border region straddling countries with unknown intent.
Originally, 15 tribes existed in the Naga hills and Tuensang (Census 1971) all of which had their distinct identities. With the advent of British, the hills opened up, leading to inter-tribal interaction. It further lead to development of ‘Naga’ identity and demand for a separate state. ‘Isolationist’ path in colonial times, culminated in the formation of a separate state of Nagaland.
Naga’s got the political voice in AZ Phino and the Naga National Council. The talk efforts by the national leaders failed and NNC announced sovereignty of Nagaland on 14th August, 1947. Despite the official adoption of philosophy of ‘integration’ in Nehru’s Tribal Panchsheel, Naga’s continued to view national leaders as ‘outsiders’.
The people’s support was garnered by NNC as Naga’s were apprehensive of Indianization of their simple way of living and customs, the intricacies of which leaders before and since failed to understand.
The next phase in Naga imbroglio came up with ‘Shillong accord’ between Indian Government and a few of NNC leaders. It led to the formation of underground factions such as NSCN which were strongly opposed to the accord. Further split in insurgent factions took place after the death of Phizo in 1990 and the insurgency spread to the neighboring states.
Hence, analysing these developments it can be inferred that the fault in discussion lies in not including every section of the Naga’s. Even after the Naga issue, the authorities fail to implement the 5th and 6th schedules effectively, worsened by colonial land acquisition act and forest policies, which led to further spread of insurgent groups. Indian intelligence failed to stop NSCN from getting ideological as well as inventory support from International agencies operating from China, Myanmar and Pakistan.
Recent signing of the peace accord with the powerful NSCN-IK is the right step in mainstreaming popular Naga opinion. However, a wider solution is needed to bring all the underground groups on a platform of peaceful discussion. Economic integration of North East, separate Tribal Policy and a stronger stronghold of Indian Intelligence in the region could be helpful for this cause
Related Questions:
  • Who are the important stakeholders in Naga Peace Process? Examine the demands of important stakeholders and possible solutions to the Naga problem. (200 Words)
  • Critically analyse the origin of tensions between Naga rebels and the government of India, the nature of demands between them and the significance of the peace accord that was recently signed between the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) and the union government. (200 Words)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top