By Jaideep Saikia
April 2007. Volume 10. Number 35. AAKROSH
The institution of ceasefire in the Northeast of India in the post-Mizo National Front (post-MNF) scenario has not resulted—for one reason or the other—in a suitable resolution. Even as the number of organisations that are carrying out subversion in the region has increased, the ceasefires that have been engineered in recent years are beginning to face stalemates. This paper examines the problem and puts forward caveats and recommendations.
Cessation of hostilities between a state and a nonstate group—engaged in conflict of one form or the other—should follow a series of steps, which leads to a comprehensive resolution of conflict. Indeed, the path that a peace process normally takes after a ceasefire is instituted, is expected to be less unwieldy than the one that precedes a ceasefire. Whereas the dynamics that could govern the pre-ceasefire stage can be a long-drawn-out affair, with protracted in camera parleys, entry and engagement of intermediaries, mediators and intelligence agencies, an ably managed post-ceasefire situation should ideally result in early resolution. As a matter of fact, prolongation of a post-ceasefire period (prior to resolution) is deemed unnecessary, as much of the groundwork on which a future resolution would be structured should have already been established preceding a formal cessation of hostility. However, in the context of Northeast India, the conflict resolution scenario has become increasingly mired in delays and hindrances, and it appears that adequate attention has not been paid to the pre-ceasefire stage. Indeed, it is analysed that in its haste to cobble out ceasefire arrangements, New Delhi has not taken into consideration certain imperatives that should govern such agreements—giving rise to the speculation that the motivation that drives it to ink deals is only to ‘inform’ the rest of the country that conflict in its eastern borderlands has been resolved. If this perception is true, then it is not only an unsound policy, but one that is fraught with grave danger to India’s national security.