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Territorial Scope of Cease-Fire With NSCN(IM)

Letter of Shri K. Padmabhaiah, Central Governmen
Representative on Naga Peace Talks to Shri Issac Chishi Swu, Chairman, NSCN

K. Padmabhaiah, designated as the Representative of Government of India in the Naga peace talks, in this letter to Issac Chishi Swu, Chairman, NSCN(I-M), has clearly spelt out not only the constitutional limitations regarding NSCN(I-M)ís demand for the extension of cease-fire agreement to all Naga areas on account of federal structure of governance in India but has also reiterated scope of the territorial delimitation of the said agreement cannot be extended beyond the current boundaries of Nagaland.

This has reference to your letter dated 26th August, 2000 addressed to the Prime Minister of India. It is true that right from the beginning, the NSCN (I/M) has been claiming that it was agreed to cover all areas in the North East while the Government of India has asserted that the agreement was to have the cease-fire limited to Nagaland only. In a federal structure, the Union Government is required to consult the State Governments, and at the time of the first agreement with the NSCN(I/M), such consultation has taken place only with the Government of Nagaland.

I must clearly mention that none of the Representatives of the Government of India has agreed to extend the cease-fire in all Naga areas. The term 'Naga areas' is vague and has not even been defined. NSCN's repeated references to the Naga areas have given a feeling of unrest and apprehension in the minds of the other State Governments, as indicative of your claim for Greater Nagaland directly or indirectly. While agreeing with the cease-fire between the Govt. of India and the NSCN as two entities, it has never been the intention of the Govt. of India that it should be interpreted by NSCN (I/M) as a step directly or indirectly towards recognition of any claim to Greater Nagaland. The intention was only to maintain peace with the NSCN as an Organisation, and to extend the area of peace in the North East.

Yet, the Govt. of India stands by its commitment to the cease-fire agreement with the NSCN (I/M) as an entity with a view to furthering the cause of peace. The Govt. of India would consider extension of cease-fire with the NSCN (I/M) to other areas in the North East subject to the condition that NSCN (I/M) accepts and agrees to issue a statement that extension of cease-fire to other areas will not be interpreted by them as a step towards recognition of their claim to Greater Nagaland.

As mentioned above, extension of cease-fire to other areas would require consultation with the concerned State Governments. The Govt. of India agrees to hold this consultation process in an agreed time-frame.

The Govt. of India has all along been willing to carry on a dialogue with the NSCN (I/M) and work for peace. The cease-fire entered into by the Govt. of India and the NSCN (I/M) has held for more than three years and created a peace dividend, which has been greatly welcomed by the Naga people, political organisations and Naga Hohos. In this back drop, your ultimatum, that the cease-fire be extended to all Naga areas by September 15 or else it stands withdrawn, is unfortunate and smacks of a partisan stand in utter disregard of the well-being of the Naga people. If, as a result of your stand, there is a break down of the peace process, the NSCN (I/M) would be solely responsible.

The Govt. of India would like to reiterate that it is interested in continuing the cease-fire and the dialogue with a view to find a peaceful solution to the Naga issue. Anv retrograde step creating barriers between the People of Nagaland and their aspiration for peace would hurt them and would be unwelcome.





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