Post Mortem

Should India give to Nagas what China has given to Tibet?

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/2/2019 12:22:39 PM IST

 Soon after Indo-Naga peace talks wrapped up on what it was termed as official deadline October 31, there has been mixed feelings ranting the air – some pro-talks were euphoric whilst others remained silent and unconvinced that it has arrived to any settlement.  The trepidation and din of protests was a fiery scene in Imphal night streets. News channels reported the outcome of the talks as a historic breakthrough in the 22 year-long negotiations between GoI and the Naga rebels.

Ministry of Home Affairs has also promptly issued a clarification against rumors milling around and that all stakeholders including neighbouring states are yet to be consulted before any accord is finally signed.

Now a dollar question in the mind of common man is what status has GoI actually agreed to grant when it has conceded to the demand of Naga negotiators led by Th.Muivah for separate flag and constitution which are believed to be outside framework agreement.  Muivah in his earlier interviews, had spelled out, “There is no question of Greater Nagaland nor Smaller Nagaland.”  Often in his public speeches, he used to say, “We understand the difficulty of India and GoI understands the difficulty of Nagas.” From the demand for sovereignty he had come down to insist for ‘Shared Sovereignty’ with India. Surely, it is not just economic package. It also looks like the GoI had planned to offer ‘economic package and rehabilitation plan’ to cadres from Nagaland while ‘rehabilitation scheme, administrative and financial autonomy’ to the Nagas outside Nagaland without affecting the territory of other neighboring states.

Even as granting Nagaland a statehood has failed to tame the Naga insurgency problem in northeast and India’s security at strategic borders remains a cause of concern, India appears constrained to work out a formula for alternative arrangement.

But with unbendable demand of the Naga negotiators for separate flag and constitution, the GoI interlocutor, seems to have slipped out all competencies from his hands. But what greater demand is actually attached to flag and constitution in the backdrop of recent Jammu & Kashmir issue? Such symbolics are actually not relevant in the context of state status or autonomous council etc unless it is granted a complete sovereign status or atleast a smaller status like that of Tibet Autonomous Region, an entity accepted by China to grant autonomy but claim its sovereignty over Tibet. The need to consult with neighboring states also could hint bifurcation or merger of a territory. Article 3 of the Indian Constitution provides for the creation of a new state or union territory through a bill tabled in Parliament on the President’s recommendation after consultation with the legislatures of the affected states.

Chinese authorities claimed Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since many years to which many Tibetans refuted and argued that Tibetan people and their land are distinct from China. They remained as a de facto independent nation until Chinese army invaded in 1950. However, China was all willing to grant ‘Tibet Autonomous Region’ to Tibetans headed by its people’s chairman and an agreement was signed in 1951. Accordingly, Chinese authorities will not interfere or alter political system of Tibetans provided China has sovereignty over Tibet. With this agreement and arrangement, Chinese government intended to prove to the world that Tibet is part of Chinese territory. Meanwhile, Chinese government policies also adopted rapid economic development program and attempts to change demographics of the region through migration of ethnic Chinese. Beijing’s policy to control over Tibet is through economic development and change of demographic composition of Tibet.

Nevertheless, since Indo-Naga peace talks have now been a historic breakthrough after long decades of years let’s hope for the better. Perhaps, the visionary Naga leaders have found it as better option to stay with liberal democracy India a second home of Tibetans than to be part of communist China in the face of all contemporary political realities.

Mathew Rongmei 


Zeliangrong Village Dimapur

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