The Naga peace talks had brought a significant change in the insurgency scenario of the Northeast.
Guwahati: The deputy national security adviser and Prime Minister’s special envoy for the Naga peace talks, Mr R.N. Ravi, said on Monday that the Naga peace talks were in the concluding stage and the ball was in the court of the Naga groups, adding if they reciprocate with pragmatic flexibility, the final agreement could be signed any day.
In an exclusive interview to this newspaper, Mr Ravi said, “The government of India has made its position clear on all the issues to the Naga negotiators, now it is on them to take a call.”
Admitting that the demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution had delayed the signing of the final agreement, Mr Ravi said the Government of India was ready to consider a Naga flag for a pan-Naga cultural body and to term the final agreement as the “Naga constitution”. He, however, hoped the issue would be resolved soon. “In the last four years we have made significant continuous progress by resolving several facets of it... like the political parameters of settlement and the specifics of various competencies to be shared between the Naga people and the Government of India. All issues have been mutually understood and agreed,” he added.
Saying that during his recent visit to Nagaland, all the stakeholders including civil society groups and all the legislators had fully been briefed on the progress of the peace talks, Mr Ravi said the Government of India was also keen to resolve the issue at the earliest, instead of dragging it on longer.
Noting the Naga peace talks were at the final stage, he said: “Political principles of settlement, substantive issue of competencies and structural issues of governance have all been mutually agreed.”
Asserting that the peace talks has been inclusive, with seven Naga groups on board, Mr Ravi admitted that no joint meeting between the NSCN(I-M) and six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) were held, but there was mutual understanding of constructive cooperation in the peace process. He also clarified that there would be only one peace agreement.
Admitting that a section of the Naga people were losing patience over the endless negotiations, he said they had every right to show their resentment and put pressure on the negotiating parties not to delay things any further.
Mr Ravi reiterated that the negotiating parties were trying to thrash out differences on contentious issues, particularly on the Naga flag, on which all the Naga negotiating groups were insisting. “We are trying to reach a common position with NSCN(I-M) on the issue of Naga constitution —Naga Yehzabo,” he said.
Asserting that his endeavour was to have the final deal acceptable to all groups and in the best interest of the Naga people, Mr Ravi said the Government of India was respectful of the Nagas’ unique history, their rights and identity and had taken significant steps to accommodate the wishes and positions of the Naga negotiators.
The Naga peace talks had brought a significant change in the insurgency scenario of the Northeast. It achieved significant milestone on August 3, 2015 as Naga negotiators signed the Framework Agreement with the Government of India in New Delhi.