Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had refused to recognize other Naga rebel outfits toward facilitating truce with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).
Rao also said the other groups were under India’s control, a senior NSCN-IM leader claimed at the 20th anniversary of Unrepresented Nations People Organization (UNPO) at The Hague on February 10-11.
The former PM had on 12 June 1995 met NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary in Paris to propose a political dialogue to resolve the Naga crisis. The duo asked Rao if his government would be talking to the NSCN-Khaplang group and the Naga National Council.
“We would not stand in the way, but we’ll not be a party to it,” said NSCN-IM leader V.S. Atem quoting Swu-Muivah. “Rao replied: ‘Why should I talk with them? The issue is not with them. The issue is with you. The people are with you, and so if we talk with you, we believe solution can be worked out. I will not talk with others. I know who they are. They are in my hands.’”
That, Atem said, set the ball of the peace process rolling. India and NSCN-IM arrived at a basic agreement on 17 November 1996 on unconditional talks at the prime minister’s level and outside India. The ceasefire subsequently became effective from 1 August 1997.
“It is now more than 13 years since we began negotiating with the government of India. Solution could be worked out only on the basis of historical facts and political rights of the Nagas,” Atem said at the UNPO convention. He reminded New Delhi of its commitment on an “out-of-the-box solution” to the Naga issue since the NSCN-IM “has rejected any solution within the Indian constitution”.
Indian military chiefs, the NSCN-IM leader said, have admitted to the futility of a military solution to the “Indo-Naga conflict”.