Published on 25 Feb. 2013, NPN

Signing agreements with insurgents proving a futile exercise
Centre has decided to act tough with insurgent groups in the Northeast. Changing its ceasefire policy, government has decided that it will not sign agreements with insurgents as it was proving a futile exercise.

“We realized signing agreements with militant groups just for the sake of peace is not working out. The moment we sign a peace agreement with a group, another faction crops up within the same group and which starts opposing the talks,” said a senior government official. “In the name of operational cease-fire agreements, these outfits besides breaking up into factions with diverse stands, also keep the weapons in their own possession, they keep on procuring weapons and ammunition from domestic sources or even from abroad, and continue with their training activities. This has prompted the new thinking in government circles,” the source said.

India’s northeast region has a history of insurgent movements in many states. There are more than 100 small and big insurgent groups in the Northeast.From just two groups in the late fifties, Manipur now has more than 30 groups. Assam has about 15 major groups; Meghalaya has about five while Nagaland has at least four major ones. It maybe mentioned that India has been pressing for crackdown on insurgent groups of Northeast including Paresh Barua-led faction of ULFA operating out of Myanmar.

The issue of the rebels continuing to operate out of the neighbouring country figured at the Twelfth India-Myanmar Foreign Office Consultations held in India on November. The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and the Myanmar delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister U Thant Kyaw, official sources said. Under pressure of the North Eastern States mainly Assam and Manipur, New Delhi has been urging Myanmar to flush out the militants.

Major insurgents groups of Manipur, Naga rebels and anti-talk faction of ULFA have been operating out of bases in Myanmar for long, taking advantage of the porous border, rough terrain and an indifferent Myanmari regime. Sources said the two sides reviewed and positively assessed the implementation of the decisions taken during the visits of the President of Myanmar to India in October 2011 and that of the Prime Minister of India to Myanmar in May.

It was noted that significant progress has been achieved in taking forward the initiatives related to enhancing connectivity among others.

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