Post Mortem

Framework Agreement and the agreed position

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/2/2020 12:28:58 PM IST

 The signing of the Framework Agreement (FA) between the Government of India (GoI) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) on 3rd August, 2015 was a jubilant moment for the Naga people. Ever since then, the Nagas have pinned their hopes of finally achieving the elusive solution to the Indo-Naga issue through the FA. The trajectory of signing the FA has signs of credible sequences indicating that the FA was an ardent pursuit of both the GoI and the NSCN. 

It may be recalled that after the Ceasefire Agreement (CA) was signed on 1st August 1997 between the GoI and the NSCN, the principles for negotiations were lucidly laid out for the two politically different entities with a resolve to negotiate at the highest order, i.e. at the Prime Minister’s level. A series of negotiations in different countries between the heads of the two entities ensued, resulting in the recognition of “the unique history and the situation of the Nagas” on 11th July 2002 under the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

To make the unfolding trajectory more tenable, the then interlocutor in 2010, RS Pandey, proposed the ideas of a “Shared Sovereignty” model between the state of India and the state of Nagalim. Against this backdrop, the two parties begun to discuss competencies within the frame of a shared sovereignty model. This culminated into the signing of the FA. A paragraph within the document runs as “respecting people’s wishes for sharing the sovereign powers as defined in the competencies, reached an agreement on the 3rd August, 2015 as an honourable solution. It is a matter of great satisfaction that dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN has successfully concluded and we are confident” (verbatim). The preceding statements clearly indicates that the GoI and the NSCN defined the competencies based on shared sovereignty model, and accordingly created the FA towards a shared, honourable solution. The document concluded with promising statements between the two entities to chalk out the details, execution plan, and implementation timelines, to be determined shortly. 

Although the document detailing the FA was subtly regarded to be kept a secret, it was not unknown to the leaders of every Naga segment. This is because the NSCN leadership rallied the Naga public and various stakeholders time and again for consultation to prepare the landing ground for the FA. So, the Nagas of different societal groups surmised that the shared sovereignty model as proposed by the GoI through RS Pandey was in the offing. The Joint Legislatures Forum of Nagaland successively took a unanimous decision to pave way for the FA. The Naga legislatures from Manipur also sent representations of support to the Prime Minister of India (Narendra Modi). The frontal apex organizations of the Nagas, such as, the Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers Association, Naga Students’ Federation, United Naga Council, and the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, issued series of letters supporting the FA. 

While the Naga public was busy preparing the red carpet for a grand reception of the FA, on 13th December 2016, the splintered groups of Naga nationalists announced the formation of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), expressing willingness to come onboard for the talk. The much-forgotten groups were soon pulled together on the table of negotiations by the interlocutor RN Ravi, supposedly for an inclusive solution. However, the clandestine relations of the interlocutor with the NNPGs made them appear as the “other” in the eyes of the proponents of the FA. In order to legitimize the presence of NNPGs, Ravi hurriedly signed a separate agreement with them on 17th November 2017, which is known as “Agreed Position”. The preamble of the Agreed Position is appended in a seemingly exact replica of the FA which envisions a solution based on Naga’s right to self-determination. This impetus gave the NNPGs confidence to rally for supporters within segments of the Naga public. 

Dr. Gideon Shadang, Institute of Naga Studies, Dimapur

(To be concluded)

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