india, myanmar pull off nscn(k) split

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Armed with peace deals, India and Myanmar have jointly completed a surgical split in the Myanmar-based NSCN (K) — one faction comprising Indian Nagas and the other faction of Myanmarese Nagas, mostly the Pangmi tribe (Heimi) of founder leader Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang, who died last year.

This is the third time that India pulled off such a strike. In 2003, it convinced Bhutan to launch a military offensive to drive out Ulfa, NDFB and Kamatapur Liberation Organization, who had based their headquarters there. In 2009, India got Bangladesh to cleanse its territory of Ulfa. Not only the outfit’s top leaders were handed over to India, but the strike successfully split the outfit into two — a pro-talks faction and an anti-talks faction (led by Paresh Baruah).

The joint bloodless strike by the two countries yielded the results within a little over a year since the death of Khaplang and appointment of Indian-origin Khango Konyak as his successor.

India held back an announcement of the peace solution with seven Naga groups, including NSCN (IM), to give time to Myanmar to play its part. Subsequently, Myanmar stepped up military pressure on NSCN(K) in Sagaing region and after its Union Peace Conference at capital city of Naypyidaw in July declared that the outfit will not be allowed to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) until it drops demand for an independent Naga homeland covering Naga inhabited areas on both sides of Myanmar-India border.

“The NSCN(K) is a peculiar case, whose demand involved interests of two countries, who are also neighbours. There could not have been a peace agreement with two countries. Either they had to stick to Myanmar territory or the Indian territory. NSCN(K) has already signed a ceasefire agreement with Myanmar in 2012 and abrogated another such agreement with India in 2015,” a source said.

“The day Khango became the chairman, India knew it had the best possible chance for India to convince an Indian-origin leadership for peace talks. We don’t want to leave behind any group outside the peace process in Nagaland and bringing NSCN(K) on board was extremely crucial,” the source added.

Last month, the Myanmar faction led by its new ‘chairman’ Yung Aung, nephew of Khaplang, “impeached’ Konyak and sent him and his Indian followers packing out of the base at Taga. In the meantime, the Aung faction gave its nod to Myanmar to accept the condition for signing the NCA.

The Konyak faction on arrival in Nagaland claimed that they were the real NSCN(K) and Konyak was the legitimate chairman and sent out feelers to facilitators that they are considering entering the peace process with the Centre. The Aung faction shot back that they were the real NSCN(K) and ‘sacked’ Konyak and all of his men.

Konyak’s information secretary Isak Sumi in his Facebook post said, “There cannot exist two parallel NSCN/GPRN in Nagaland, the Myanmar NCA secessionist group led by a Hindu and a Meitei half-breed Yonghong (Yung Aung), an arch opponent of Naga integration must never be allowed to create any disturbances in Nagaland, Nagas from India occupied territories must understand that NSCN/GPRN led by Khango is the only legitimate organisation. Few Nagas from India who are still affiliated to Yonghong group must also seriously contemplate their fate once NCA is implemented, they would be compelled to become Myanmar citizen or to finally surrender before India because even the GOI will not offer ceasefire to a handful of desperate people without base or refuge.”

Sumi, in a separate statement, said the Aung faction has entered into a “treacherous deal with Myanmar Juntas at Nyapidaw” and “forfeiting almost a century-old Nagas’ struggle for sovereign independence.”

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