“India Signs Peace Accord with Militant Naga Separatists”
Reuters, August 3, 2015
“India signed a peace agreement on Monday with a leading tribal separatist group in the country’s northeast that had waged guerrilla war for six decades against central rule from New Delhi. Officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government signed the accord with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), one of several separatist groups active in the remote and underdeveloped northeastern region bordering on China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan. The NSCN-IM has been fighting for an independent ethnic Naga homeland uniting parts of the mountainous northeast with areas of neighbouring Myanmar, where it runs a government-in-exile. At least one other Naga faction remains at war with New Delhi. New Delhi and the NSCN-IM have been in talks since 1997. … The terms of the agreement were not immediately known. Modi’s government has said it wants to develop the region, which has long felt neglected by the rest of the country, by pumping in development funds and building better infrastructure. … The unrest has killed more than 170 people, most of them militants, in the northeast this year, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. Last year, 465 people were killed. Militant violence is declining across India, but the country is still fighting separatists in disputed Kashmir state and in the northeast, as well as Maoist-inspired groups operating across a swathe of the east.”
Quickie analysis: Given that the two sides have been negotiating for most of my life over an end to a conflict that began during my grandmother’s childhood, this is quite a breakthrough indeed.