NSCN (I-M) holds talks with new govt pointsman | delhi | Hindustan Times
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NSCN (I-M) holds talks with new govt pointsman

delhi Updated: Mar 02, 2010 22:23 IST

In a fresh bid to solve the Naga issue, NSCN-IM on Tuesday held the first round of talks with the government's newly appointed pointsman RS Pandey during which the group submitted a list of 30 demands that includes sovereignty for Nagaland.

The meeting, held at undisclosed location, lasted for about 90 minutes during which a NSCN-IM delegation led by its general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah submitted their 30-point demands, sources said.

The meeting which was seen more as an "informal type", as pointed out by a delegate at the meeting, was held to know the new interlocutor who had helped Muivah in renewing his expired passport, they said, adding another round will be held on Wednesday.

Pandey, while giving a patient hearing to the Naga leaders, conveyed to them that there was no possibility of sovereignty for Nagaland and the talks could be held around granting more autonomy.

Pandey, a former Petroleum Secretary, was appointed as the new pointsman on Naga talks on February 12 to succeed former Home Secretary K Padmanabhaiah who was the interlocutor for nearly a decade.

Among other issues in the charter demand, the NSCN-IM pointed out certain taxation matters and preservation of cultural heritage, the sources said.

Earlier, the Naga delegation paid courtesy calls to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Muivah, who along with four other Naga leaders arrived here on February 27 from Amsterdam, met the prime minister at his residence.

This is the second such meeting in the past five years. Muivah along with the NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chisi Swu had met Singh earlier during their visit in 2006.

Later Muivah met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during which the two sides had a comprehensive discussion on finding a lasting solution to the six-decades-old issue which includes boundary dispute with neighbouring Manipur and Assam.

"We had a comprehensive discussion and the NSCN-IM will continue the negotiation with the government of India," Muivah told reporters after the meeting.

"If the Centre is serious then we will talk," he said. Asked whether the organisation was happy over Pandey's appointment, Muivah said, "the government of India has confidence in him. So we will talk to him. But if the talks do not yield any result then we will say no."

Besides Chidambaram, others present at the hour-long meeting were Home Secretary G K Pillai and Special Secretary (Internal Security) U K Bansal.

Muivah, along with Swu, had last visited India in December 2006 and held talks with government leaders. He is expected to visit Nagaland later.

A ceasefire was agreed upon 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.