NNPGs & NSCN-IM vis-a-vis Naga solution

As commented earlier in the same column, there is no synergy between NSCN-IM and NNPGs on the issue of separate flag and constitution for the Nagas. Whereas the NNPGs have made it clear that they are in favour of sealing a final solution first while the issue of separate flag and constitution may be negotiated later, the NSCN-IM has been steadfastly demanding incorporation of a provision for separate flag and constitution of Nagas in the final solution. Maintaining that separate flag and constitution symbolise Naga National identity, the outfit categorically asserted that they cannot forgo these core issues. As if separate flag and constitution are not enough, the NSCN-IM has not totally abandoned the demand for integration of Naga inhabited areas. On the other hand, the NNPGs have accused the Government of India of ignoring the ‘overwhelming demand of the people’ for an early solution to the Naga issue. They have asked the Government of India to be forthcoming on the Naga issue which only implies that they are eager to seal a final solution to the decades old political dialogue, as opposed to the NSCN-IM which apparently is in no hurry. Again, NSCN-IM and NNPGs have totally different perceptions of the Indo-Naga political dialogue process. Whereas NSCN-IM sees the political dialogue as an ongoing or incomplete process, the NNPGs have been claiming that ‘all entities involved in the matter had concluded talks on October 31, 2019.  But no official declaration has been made yet regarding the purported conclusion of the dialogue process. By leaving out NSCN-IM from the Agreed Position signed on November 17, 2017, the Government of India sent an unmistakable message that it was not going to concede to the NSCN-IM’s demand for separate flag and constitution but the dialogue process has been caught in a deadlock.
It is indeed confusing and disappointing that the political dialogue which went on between the Government of India and Naga militant groups, particularly NSCN-IM has neither been brought to a conclusion nor terminated. It is up to the wisdom of the Government of India to either concede to the NSCN-IM’s demands and seal a final settlement or maintain the status quo or make a settlement with the NNPGs. But any peace deal made in the absence of NSCN-IM will only be piecemeal at the best. At the same time, the dialogue process cannot drag on forever or be stalled at such concluding stage. At one point of time, New Delhi was ready to seal a final deal to the protracted dialogue with or without NSCN-IM but a Naga solution without NSCN-IM can never be complete, howsoever its demands are unacceptable to New Delhi. Not only NSCN-IM, all stakeholders must be taken into account in the process of working out a pragmatic solution to the protracted dialogue process. In case, NSCN-IM’s demand for Naga integration is still in the agenda, the neighbouring States must be consulted and taken into confidence before arriving at any solution. The Government of India must be well aware that NSCN-IM’s persistent demand for integration of all Naga-inhabited areas of the North East region to form a greater Nagaland or Nagalim is an antithesis to the idea of a united and pluralistic Manipur. Moreover, New Delhi must take into account the historical circumstances under which Manipur was merged into the Indian Union while working out a solution to the Naga issue.  Before the idea of integration of Naga inhabited areas of Manipur with the present State of Nagaland is given a thought, New Delhi needs to have a comprehensive understanding of Manipur and its long history.  The Government of India must not overlook the fact that there is a legitimate counter-narrative to the demand for Naga integration.