THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 15 FEBRUARY 2019 (Will new appointments in Naga rebel group help revive peace talks? (Live Mint)

Will new appointments in Naga rebel group help revive peace talks? (Live Mint)

Mains Paper 4: Security
Prelims level: Naga rebel group
Mains level: Challenges to internal security in the north east region


  •  The largest Naga rebel group, National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), or NSCN (I-M) on 11 February appointed a new chairman and vice-chairman.
  •  It may seem significant in the context of the Naga peace talks that to go by numerous media accounts barring this column have been on the verge of conclusion since the group signed a Framework Agreement for Peace with the government of India in August 2015.
  •  The last of Swu’s gestures was urging the signing of the agreement.
  •  The ailing Swu died in June 2016. Khole Konyak was appointed vice-chairman in May 2016, just weeks before Swu’s passing. Konyak died of a stroke last December.
  •  That Tuccu is like Swu of the Sema or Sümi tribe, and Tongmeth Wangnao, like Khole of the Konyak tribe, is more form than function. But form is as crucial as function in Naga society.


  •  Tuccu, popularly known as ‘Q Tuccu’ is not a towering personality like Swu, who was respected across the four factions of NSCN, and Naga homelands. But Tuccu is a homegrown I-M man.
  •  He is also from the commercially lucrative Dimapur region—a melting pot of Naga society that was carved away from Assam for giving Nagaland access to the plains and a train station, and is now home to most Naga tribes—but the gesture will resonate in the Sema homelands of Zunheboto, northeast of Kohima.
  •  It will also signal to Semas in other factions that they continue to be welcome in a group that has large numbers, cadres and leaders (including Muivah and chief of I-M’s army, Anthony Shimray) from the Tangkhul tribe, who call Ukhrul in northern Manipur home.
  •  Tongmeth Wangnao broke away from NSCN’s Khaplang or K faction to join I-M several years ago.
  •  He is more I-M than Khole, who broke away from K in 2011 to join NSCN (Unification), and then broke away from that faction after five years to join I-M in 2016.
  •  If appointing Khole vice-chairman was a signal from I-M to undermine both the Khaplang and Unification factions, then Tongmeth Wangnao’s appointment underscores that gesture: the numerically-heavy Konyaks continue to be welcome too.
  •  In the tortuously complicated and opportunistic world of Naga rebel politics, this is a big deal.
  •  S.S. Khaplang died in 2017.His Myanmar-based group, which resumed hostilities against India in early 2015, is now in a shambles.
  •  A coup last year pushed a sizeable body of Konyak leaders and cadres of the K faction, including its ousted post-Khaplang chief, Khango Konyak, into India—and into peace negotiations with the government of India.

Way forward

  •  Meanwhile, the remainder of the K faction, now run by Khaplang’s nephew Yung Aung, who took control in August 2018, was over-run earlier this month by Myanmar’s army, including its headquarters in Taga.
  •  K cadres and leaders are likely to be relocated in “designated camps", like the current practice for all Naga rebel groups in India—which are all in talks with government.
  •  Cadres and leaders of the “anti-talks" factions of the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, and several Manipuri rebel groups, who all found sanctuary in K camps, are on the run.
  •  While this can be termed as a victory for India’s security establishment, it also helps I-M. It’s now unquestionably the most influential Naga rebel group.
  •  The new appointments increase its heft in general. In particular, it increases I-M’s leverage within the peace process.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Consider the following statements about NDRF.
1. It comes under Ministry of Home Affairs
2. It is the only dedicated disaster response force in the world
3. Established in 2006
4. HQ: New Delhi

Choose the correct statement(s) from the above
A. 1 only
B. 2 and 4only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. All of the above

Answer: D

Mains Questions:
Q.1) Will new appointments in Naga rebel group help revive peace talks?