Awaiting final pact with NSCN (IM) Walking the tight rope

After Citizenship Amendment Bill, one can surely expect the ongoing peace talk between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India to hog the limelight. And to be sure if there are any points of agreement which are deemed to hurt the interests of Manipur or even dilute the understanding of Manipur as a geo-political reality, one can expect endless days of street protests. Not clear when the final deal will be inked, but the sense of urgency to come to a final pact would not have missed anyone. It is not on record as such, but to be sure the NSCN (IM) must be piling all the pressure it can to ink the final deal before the Lok Sabha elections and there are reasons for it. After the BJP led NDA Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, a new thrust seems to have been given to the political negotiation between New Delhi and the NSCN (IM). This is perhaps best illustrated by the signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 after the Modi led Government had just completed one year in office, underlining a sense of purpose in which the political negotiation with the IM group is being pursued. Adding more teeth to the sense of urgency is the act of a Rajya Sabha panel in urging the Government to strike the final deal as soon as possible. Two decades of peace negotiation is indeed a long time and all would agree that the time is more than ripe to take the negotiation to its logical conclusion. The Centre however will need to tread with caution for in striking the final deal, it cannot afford to upset the neighbouring States, particularly Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Territorial integrity of Manipur. This has been the calling card of the majority community in Manipur and the June 18 uproar of 2001 is more than enough testimony of where the people stand on this issue. If the insertion of the words ‘without territorial limits’ in the peace pact with the NSCN (IM) led to such an uproar claiming the lives of more than 18 people, then one can imagine what the situation can be like if the stand of the people is ignored. The Centre too must be aware of this and the numerous feedbacks which Interlocutor to the peace talk RN Ravi has received must have made the stand of the people clear. On the other, Nagalim or Greater Nagaland is a standing demand of the NSCN (IM) and this is where the Centre will need to tread with caution. Tt however stands that something will have to be given for the peace talk to fructify and this is where New Delhi will need to take all the people into confidence. Nearly four years down the line and no one knows what the Framework Agreement is all about, but this has not stopped the NSCN (IM) from claiming that the final deal will be based on the August 3, 2015 agreement. New Delhi too must be keen to seal the final deal and here it is important for the political leaders of New Delhi to ensure that the interests of others are not compromised in coming to an agreement with the IM group of the NSCN.

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