CM Khandu

Namsai (Arunachal Pradesh), Nov. 16 (PTI): Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday welcomed the Centre’s initiative to solve the decades-old Naga problem and categorically stated that there will be no compromise on the territorial integrity of the state.

The Arunachal Pradesh government will make clear its stand on the Naga peace process to the Centre when called for discussion, he said.

Welcoming the Centres initiative, Khandu said New Delhi is serious to solve the issue once for all.

“We will soon call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue besides taking the view of other stakeholders. We will submit our decision to the Centre before a framework agreement is signed,” the chief minister said while addressing the National Press Day celebration here.

“We are clear in our stand and we want that Naga peace process should not affect the state at any cost,” he said.

The central government has already rejected insurgent outfit NSCN-IM’s demand for unification of Naga inhabited areas in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

All the three northeastern states have vehemently opposed it.

Also Read: Naga Talks Protest: Manipur Congress on five-day relay hunger strike

The union home ministry had said in a statement that before any settlement is arrived at with Naga groups, all stakeholders, including the states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh will be duly consulted and their concerns will be taken into consideration.

The NSCN-IM had demanded ‘Nagalim’ or Greater Nagaland in which all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast would be under one administrative umbrella.

The map of ‘Nagalim’, released by the NSCN-IM a few years ago, spreads over 1,03,473 sq km beyond the 16,527 sq km area of Nagaland.

It includes Anjaw, Changlang, Lohit, Longding, Namsai and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The NSCN-IM and its rival factions have claimed that these areas, primarily Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts, are dominated by Nagas.

Successive governments in Arunachal Pradesh have time and again made it clear that they would not compromise on the state’s territorial integrity.

A framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah and Centres interlocutor R N Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after Independence in 1947.

~EMN

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