By Mubasshir Mushtaq
India has signed a peace deal with separatist rebels from the Nagaland state in the country’s remote northeast.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the “historic” deal signed with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) at his official residence.
The terms of the peace accord had not yet been made public at the time of reporting.
“The Nagaland political issue had lingered for six decades, taking a huge toll on generations of our people,” Modi said, adding that a lack of mutual understanding had delayed a solution.
“The Naga courage and commitment are legendary. Equally, they represent the highest levels of humanism,” Modi said, praising the group’s leaders Muivah and Isak Swu for showing “wisdom and courage”.
Minutes after the deal, Muivah praised the role that the prime minister had played in bringing it about.
“Under PM Narendra Modi, we have come close to understand each other, and worked out a new relation between the two parties… Nagas will forever remember you for your statesmanship,” Muivah said.
The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland was formed in 1980s with the objective of forming a new state for indigenous Naga people.
The group split into two factions, NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and NSCN (Khaplang) in 1988 over a disagreement on peace talks with the government.
In April 2015, the Modi-led government ended a ceasefire agreement with the Khaplang faction, which has allegedly been behind a number of attacks on Indian soldiers over the past couple of months.
Indian intelligence agencies held the Khaplang faction responsible for the killing of 20 Indian soldiers earlier in June. Days after the deadly strike, India reportedly carried out a cross-border attack on the Myanmar-based group, killing scores of its fighters. (Anadolu Ajansi)