It is heartening to learn that talks between the government of India and the tiol Socialist Council of galim (I-M) are now in an “advanced stage” even though the Centre has rejected the demand of the militant outfit to allow galand to have a separate constitution. Meanwhile the Centre is understood to be quite hopeful that the Khaplang faction of the NSCN will also rejoin the peace process. This news must be something to rejoice over not only for the people of galand but for the entire country considering the decades that have been spent in arriving at a satisfactory solution to problems relating to galand. One of the major problems of a federal structure is that the Centre has to cope with a wide range of demands mainly related to greater autonomy whenever a State demands very special rights and privileges in order to remain a part of the Union. The NSCN (I-M) had been demanding a separate constitution, passport system and so on in order to remain a part of the Indian Union. The earlier UPA government seemed willing to concede some of the demands relating to much greater autonomy, and it is not unlikely that most of those demands would have been conceded had the UPA government remained in power. The well-known Congress culture of conceding separatist demands more readily should be clear to most people who recall how Jammu & Kashmir was permitted more privileges than other States of the Union in order to ensure that the State remained with India. It is, therefore, particularly heartening to learn that the Centre rejected the demands made by the NSCN (I-M) for a separate constitution, a separate passport system and the inclusion of ga-inhabited territories in other neighbouring States in the proposed greater galim. The Centre made it clear to the NSCN (I-M) that it would not cut into the territory of any State to make it a part of the proposed greater galim without the approval of the State government concerned. The leaders of the NSCN (I-M) were told that if they could persuade the other State governments in this regard, only then would the Centre accept the demand for such additiol territory. The Centre has stated that since no State government has agreed to such a demand, there could be no question of affecting the territorial integrity of any of the neighbouring States while signing the fil agreement with the NSCN (I-M). Home Ministry sources have indicated that some minor differences have remained, but efforts have been sustained to sort out the issues involved.
It will be recalled that a framework agreement between the Union government and the NSCN (I-M) was signed in August 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister rendra Modi. This, and the progress made recently in working out a mutually acceptable solution to the problems of galand, should ensure that it should be possible to have the formal agreement signed in the near future. However, what everyone in galand and the rest of the country will look forward to is that the NSCN (K) will also rejoin the peace process and be a sigtory to the formal agreement with the Centre. There are clear indications that this is now a distinct possibility even though no time frame has been envisaged for this welcome development. In any case, considering that the peace process in galand has recently taken several resolute steps forward, one fervently hopes that the formal agreement will have the participation and endorsement of all the important political groups of the State.