Aiming at an honourable solution to the vexed Naga issue, militant group NSCN-IM and government's new interlocutor have held a key round of negotiations which have been described as "very positive".
A delegation of NSCN-IM led by its general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah held parleys with the new interlocutor RS Pandey last evening to iron out differences on several crucial issues including integration of Naga inhabited areas.
"The meeting was very good, very positive. We have engaged in discussion to sort out our differences," Pandey said.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of Muivah's visit to Nagaland where he had held consultations with civil society, political leaders and NGOs and also Pandey's tour to the state to get feedback from ground level.
The Nagaland Assembly too had adopted a resolution hailing the Centre's move to give fresh impetus to the Naga talks by appointing an "appropriate interlocutor".
"We are trying to find out an honourable solution acceptable to both sides. This time there is a sense of urgency. The positive thing is that there is a right spirit, the spirit of understanding," Pandey, a 1972-batch Nagaland cadre IAS officer, said.
NSCN-IM has proposed a federal relationship with the Indian Union with additional financial and legislative powers to handle while the Central government offered financial package for socio-cultural development of Naga people, sources said.
Among the issues in the charter of demands which was presented to the Centre by the rebels, the NSCN-IM pointed out certain taxation matters and preservation of cultural heritage, the sources said.
Muivah, who along with four other Naga leaders, arrived in New Delhi on February 27 from Amsterdam held a round of talks with Pandey earlier.
"We will meet again soon to discuss informally and narrow down our differences before the next round of talks," Pandey said.
A ceasefire was agreed on with NSCN-IM in August 1997. In May 1998, the union government had appointed Swaraj Kaushal as the first negotiator. He continued in his post till July 1999. After him, former Home Secretary K Padmanabhaiah took charge and continued till last year.