Steering Committee, NSCN
The case of the Nagas is an aggression by India and Burma, not that of secession from them.
The past Indian leaders viewed the Indo-Naga political problem from the perspective of Indian constitution and they gave military approach. It is on account of this wrong perspective and approach that they could not touch the heart of the matter. The problem calls for the right diagnosis and the right approach.
Imposition of Indian will on the Nagas is the root cause of the Indo-Naga political problem. The use of force could bring no solution rather it prolonged solution.
But the Nagas have been looking for a negotiated settlement that is based on mutual respect and consent.
It has come to the knowledge of all that twenty-four (24) years ago, on June 12, 1995, the Paris agreement was reached between the Government of India and NSCN on the following three terms: They are: - (1) talk at Prime Ministerial level (2) talk without condition and (3) talk in third countries.
Talk without condition means – Government of India will not impose its constitution on the Nagas. It is a talk outside the parameters of Indian constitution. Prime Ministerial level talk means – it is a political issue to be dealt with at the Prime Ministerial level, not as a law and order problem under the Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI. Therefore, the Indian negotiating team or Interlocutors who talk with NSCN team represent the Prime Minister of India.
The second Cease-fire Agreement that was signed between the Government of India and NSCN on 1st August, 1997 in Bangkok was officially announced in the Indian Parliament by the then Prime Minister of India Mr. I.K. Gujral, and our honorable Chairman Mr. Isak Chishi Swu announced it in the General Assembly of UNPO at The Hague, Netherlands for legitimacy.
This issue-based cease-fire agreement aims at an issue-based solution through dialogue. The issue embraces all Nagas and their territories.
The Nagas must be a recognized entity. And that it was recognized by the Government of India at Bangkok talk on 31st July, 2000. The agreement says, “The cease-fire agreement between the Government of India and NSCN as two entities has been extended for another period of three (3) months.” It was also reaffirmed in the subsequent talk in Bangkok in 2001.
On the issue of cease-fire area coverage, the Government of India and NSCN signed the agreement on 14th June, 2001 stating, “The Cease-fire agreement is between the Government of India and the NSCN as two entities without territorial limits.” Reaffirming the agreement, the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee clarified it in Osaka talk saying, “Wherever there is fighting there is cease-fire. Cease-fire is everywhere.”
Mr. Swaraj Kaushal, the interlocutor of the Government of India stated, “Cease-fire is everywhere, it is also in Delhi and even in Paris.” Indeed, this Cease-fire agreement has been operative in all Naga areas for more than twenty two (22) years in spite of strayed incidents here and there.
The Government of India led by the then Prime Minister of India Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee recognized the unique history and situation of the Nagas on 11th July, 2002 at Amsterdam. By unique history it means- ‘Nagas have the history of independence.’ The Nagas have neither been a party to the union of India nor to that of Burma either by conquest or by consent. Keeping that historical background in mind, both the parties are trying to work out an amicable solution.
The Congress Government headed by the then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh tabled a non-paper in 2014 where it proposed, ‘shared-sovereignty.’ The Congress leadership has also given its commitment to solving the problem in that line.
Finally, the BJP government headed by the dynamic Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi took the bold step in signing the historic ‘Framework Agreement’ on 3rd August, 2015.
The Framework Agreement was arrived at between the two entities on the basis of the unique history of the Nagas. Understanding the reality of the uniqueness of Naga history, Government of India recognizes the sovereignty of the Nagas stating, “Sovereignty of the Nagas lies with the Naga people.” By unique history of the Nagas, it also means – Naga identity, culture and territory are also unique. Naga territories have never been ceded to any power. ‘Nagas are the owners of their land and mineral resources above and beneath the land,’ it says.
The Agreement further says, “Co-existence of the two entities.” We all know that ‘co-existence,’ by convention, applies to two or more entities, it does not apply to one entity. The Indians and the Nagas are two different entities. The Nagas have not been a part of the Union of India by consent, but they will ‘co-exist with the Union of India as two entities’, it means. The two entities will be inseparably bound together by the cord of the Framework Agreement. It also says, ‘Shared-sovereignty.’ The Nagas do not accept the constitution of India, but Nagas and Indians will share sovereign powers on the basis of the Framework Agreement.
We have been looking for a lasting honorable solution that will guarantee the rights of Nagas and security of India.
Nagas were forcibly divided into many pieces against their will and placed them in different administrative units by the colonial powers. Unification of all Nagas under one political roof is their legitimate right and Government of India recognizes that right.
The talks also focus on the mechanism of inseparable harmonious interdependent relationship of the two entities and durable peace and progress in the land. Peace in the region is a prelude to the peace of the Indian sub-continent.
Facing many hurdles and difficulties in the talks, we have finally signed the historic ‘Framework Agreement’ and accordingly, we are working on for a final touch.
We hope and trust that the final solution can be worked out soon provided that Government of India does not go back on its commitment. The ball is in the court of India.