Naga Army chief Anthony Ningkhan Shimray

Ukhrul: For the past few months, Naga political talks between the Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM/GPRN) seem to be in peril as formal meetings appeared to have stalled for a while, even as talks continue on an informal basis.

However, the Chief of Naga Army/Longvibu General Anthony Ningkhan Shimray said informal meetings do not mean that progress is not being made.

Speaking exclusively with EastMojo, Shimray, who is visiting his home town in Ukhrul district, stated that the Naga group under the leadership of Ato Kilonser Th Muivah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are firmly dedicated to resolving the protracted Indo-Naga issues for the larger interest of both parties.

“Both sides are seriously committed to finding a solution. We are exploring means to find an amicable solution,” Shimray said.

Highlighting the importance of political talks, Shimray pointed out that the real talks happen only when there is a conflicting issue.

Since there are some conflicting issues between the GoI and the Nagas, both parties continue the talks to find a solution, he added.

Stressing on why the Naga group made its stand loud and clear on the symbols and their identity in the talks, Shimray said, “From our side, we are putting our best effort to find the solution. But that does not mean we will submit to a solution without our Naga flag and constitution.”

Since most of the components and competencies in the Framework Agreement (FA) has been hammered out and understood by both parties, we are venturing and exploring to come into a meeting point from our differences, he added.

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Shimray, who was the political commissar of the Naga Army and currently the chief of Naga Army-MC (Military Cross), was recently felicitated by his village and the neighbouring villages of Tashar.

Shimray also addressed a Tangkhul Naga leaders consultative meeting on Indo-Naga peace talks at Ukhrul and Kamjong districts with thousands of hopeful Nagas attended the meeting.

It may be noted that after serving the Naga group for 40 years, Shimray was promoted to ‘general rank’ in 2020, the first person to be promoted to the general’s rank after the formation of NSCN/GPRN.

Calling out his fellow Nagas to be united, Shimray, at the consultation meeting, reasserted that “The plan of God for the deliverance and liberation of the Naga people have begun and it is about to finish.”

Terming the big crowd gathered at the meetings as one of the instances of the people’s movement, Shimray stated, “The world has changed.

People’s movement and people’s voices are now the collective power of the people, and it will conquer the power of evil and oppression.”

Taking a dig at NNPG–a group of seven Naga rebel groups–the Naga Longvibu alleged that unlike NSCN-IM taking a tough position on the issues of separate flag and constitution, they (NNPG) want to bring the solution within the constitution of India and settlement for only the Nagas of Nagaland.

“They are for a colony state of India, and we are for the sovereign Naga nation. That is why there is no meeting point between the NNPG and the rest of the Nagas. However, for the sake of peace, the Government of India invited them to be part of the peace negotiations,” added Shimray.

The Naga Lonvibu further stated that once they (NNPG) accept the settlement within the Indian Constitution, their army will be demobilised, dissolved and merged with Indian security forces.

“Whereas the Naga Army is to reform into a modern army of the Naga nation. And to build a modern state, we are in peace talks with India. It is not to build a Hindustan state,” he added.

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