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The Narendra Modi government has decided to appoint Northeast expert and former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) RN Ravi, a retired 1976 batch Kerala cadre IPS officer, as chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Centre’s interlocutor for talks with Naga groups, including the National Socialistic Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM).
Ravi succeeds Ajit Lal, who demitted charge of chairman JIC and additional charge of Naga interlocutor on July 31.
South Block sources said that Prime Minister Modi decided to give both the charges to Ravi as the job of a Naga interlocutor is not full time.
In the previous regime, this post was held by Raghav Sharan Pandey till he formally joined the BJP in the run-up to the 2014 LS polls. It was then that the previous regime decided to temporarily hand over the charge to then JIC chairman Ajit Lal.
The job of chairman JIC, which functions under the National Security Council Secretariat, is to collate intelligence reports from IB, RA&W and other defence intelligence agencies and prepare net assessments for the government.
Although the government has left it to Ravi, who retired from IB on April 30, 2012, to decide on the dates for future negotiations with the leadership of NSCN (I-M) insurgent group, the former intelligence officer is known to have strong views on how to tackle insurgency movements in the Northeast.
According to an editorial published by him in a leading newspaper this year, Ravi has called NSCN (I-M) group a militia that belongs to the Tangkhul tribe of Manipur and called the 1997 ceasefire with the Centre “reckless” and one that led to civil war within the state.
It is learnt that the Modi government wants Ravi to initiate a time-bound dialogue with NSCN (I-M) without allowing them to increase its cadre and arsenal strength.
The Tangkhul Naga group is currently at odds with other Nagaland tribes like the Semas and the two clashed last Christmas with the latter over-running the camps of the armed militia.