President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said a solution to the decades-old Naga insurgency is near.
On August 3, 2015, the Modi government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) signed a Framework Agreement. The separatist group has been in talks with New Delhi since 1997 after signing a ceasefire agreement.
“I am confident that a final agreement – one that is fair to all and meets the expectations and aspirations of all – will be reached soon,” Kovind said.
The President was inaugurating the Hornbill Festival and State Formation Day celebrations of Nagaland.
He said: “The past half century has been one of both achievements and difficulties for Nagaland. The people of the state have come through many trials but their essential talent and wisdom and their essential goodness has been so apparent.
“Today Nagaland is at the edge of making history. After years of insurgency, there is hope. With the support of the people of the state, of civil society institutions and all stake-holders, there is an opportunity for lasting peace.
“I congratulate all the Naga groups for having come so far,” Kovind said.
Noting that the incumbent government in the state had no opposition, the President said: “This is a unique situation. It also offers a chance to resolve long-standing political problems, bring lasting peace – and it can accelerate the process of development and of creating jobs and opportunities.
“Nagaland deserves this. All of you deserve it – and the young people of the state deserve it.”
Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang said the full potential and growth of the state had been impeded by the unresolved issue of the Naga political struggle.
“We all feel this state of affairs should not be allowed to continue as it not only hampers the normal avocations of peaceful citizens, but also stands in the way of every aspect of progressive growth,” he said.
“As a multi-tribal society, it is a fact that we face many challenges but when it comes to the resolution of the seven decades old Naga political issue, the people’s voice is for an inclusive, honourable and acceptable solution,” he added.
“We have already witnessed 20 long years of the peace process and another two years after signing of the Framework Agreement.
“The Indian government and NSCN-IM have been in dialogue for a very long time and today the six NNPGs have also entered into a dialogue with the Indian government,” Zeliang said.
He acknowledged the pro-active role played by the Tribal Hohos, Civil Societies and different NGOs in their efforts to bring the different Naga rebel groups together.
“The fact that different factions and armed groups have now come together seeking a solution is truly very encouraging.
“We consider this to be the most opportune time for the Nagas and the government of India to resolve the Naga political issue once and for all,” Zeliang said.