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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

Nagaland Peace Process: The Break Of Dawn Seems Imminent

A generous rehabilitation package for militants has to be drawn up as a step to ensure that there is stability.

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Marking a possible final phase of India’s longest enduring insurgency, the deadlock between the Government of India (GoI) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) was broken on October 31, 2019, with the NSCN-IM agreeing to sign a peace deal.

Also Read:
(1) Government Determined To Conclude Naga Peace Process: Governor R N Ravi
(2) Centre Needs To Note The Naga Separatists’ Unease
(3) ‘Indo-Naga Political Negotiations’ Not Restricted to Nagaland: NNPG

Both parties, according to reports, have reached an acceptable position on the contentious issues of Naga flag and Naga constitution, which were the main roadblocks for signing the accord. Nagaland Governor and interlocutor for the peace talks, R.N. Ravi stated, “the accord has not been finalised yet. Matters are under discussion. NSCN-IM has come on board.”


The latest phase of the peace process started with the signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015,  with the NSCN-IM. Later in 2016, the scope of the accord was widened with the formation of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), a conglomerate of  Naga militant formations to secure a ‘permanent solution’ to the ‘Naga issue’.

The negotiations, which have lingered on for over four years, reached a limbo when R.N. Ravi, on August 21, 2019, stated that the peace process was stuck up on symbolic issues of Flag and Constitution, although core issues had been resolved.

Indeed, on September 29,  2019, NSCN-IM ‘general secretary’ Thuingaleng Muivah stated that there would be no peace accord without the flag and constitution.

In the runup to the deadline of October 31, 2019, set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a change in posture by NSCN-IM and the Security Forces (SFs), was indicated. Reports indicate that NSCN-IM militants had started moving into Manipur and Mizoram to cross over to Myanmar and SFs were being redeployed. Deputy Commissioners (DC) and administrative officers were ordered to remain within their places of posting and jurisdiction.



Moreover, in the earlier months of 2019, confrontations between NSCN-IM and SFs had recorded a spike.

A chief catalyst for NSCN-IM’s abrupt change of heart is likely to have been the defections of kilo kilonser (home minister) ’ Hukavi Yeputhomi and 16 other leaders on October 25 and 22 other senior NSCN-IM leaders on October 28.

The apprehension of further defections significantly weakening NSCN-IM, and resulting in the group’s displacement from its principal position at the negotiating table, to be rendered isolated and irrelevant in a future peace process, are likely to have prodded the leadership to come back on board.

Despite the October 31 development, a plethora of concerns need to be addressed. Although the Government has assured that no final agreement will be taken without consultation with all stakeholders, one of the main issues to be addressed will be the apprehensions of states such as Manipur, Assam and Arunachal whose territorial areas are included in NSCN-IM’s vision of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or ‘Nagalim’.

In  Arunachal Pradesh, All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) had on October 29 stated that the Naga accord should not change the territorial jurisdiction of the state.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) Pema Khandu also stated on October 31 that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had assured him that inputs from Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal will also be factored in before the final agreement.

Valley areas of Manipur have already seen a host of protest demonstrations, with the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) launching a massive protest against any deal that could affect the territorial integrity of Manipur as a result of the Naga accord. After the news of the October 31 agreement, COCOMI has extended its cease-work strike and protests.


Reports indicate that Army troops have been air-lifted to Manipur from Dimapur (Nagaland) on October 31.

This is supplementary to the 15 Companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) in Imphal area. Apprehension in Manipur is likely to persist as the issues of integration of Naga inhabited areas outside Nagaland are stated to require further discussion.

Possibility of a break down in law and order in valley areas of Manipur remains a possibility.

With insurgency-related fatalities declining consistently, the October 31 agreement is a timely development in the right direction. However, considerable distance needs to be covered in the coming days to bring in an enduring peace by addressing the apprehensions of neighbouring states and equally satisfying naga demands as well.

A generous rehabilitation package for militants has to be drawn up as a step to ensure that there is stability in law and order situation.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

M A Athul

M A Athul is a Research Assistant with the Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi. He is currently working on research and documentation of insurgency in North East India. He has also worked on the field on West Asia and Afghanistan

 

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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

NRC Good For India-Bangladesh Relations

With the Indo-Bangla ties on an upswing, this is the right time to deal with the issue of illegal migration.

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The India–Bangladesh relationship is probably going through its best phase. It is one of the few success stories in India’s diplomatic notebook in an otherwise troubled neighbourhood. Both sides have managed to sort out a number of contentious issues. Prominent among them has been the land boundary and the maritime boundary dispute. Both the issues were sorted out to the satisfaction of Bangladesh where India ignored significant losses of territory to nurture the bilateral relationship.

This Indian investment in its relationship with its eastern neighbour has shown result and both sides are now enjoying a period of unparalleled bonhomie, peace and friendship.

However, fears are being expressed that India’s implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), first in the state of Assam and subsequently in the whole country could rock the boat.


While there is no doubt that the implementation of NRC is a complicated issue, but if properly implemented it would make the India-Bangladesh relationship more sustainable.

Even as the bilateral relations are on a strong footing, an oft-expressed fear is that the upsurge in the relationship is regime-specific.

While there is bipartisan support on the Indian side to maintain a friendly relationship with Bangladesh, the same cannot be said about the Bangladeshi side where the political opposition at the first opportunity is likely to take steps that could derail the relationship.

The opposition in Bangladesh has tried its best to convince its interlocutors in India that their attitude has changed. However, it remains to be seen whether it is so.



Generally, it has been pointed out that the Teesta water dispute is the only remaining dispute between India and Bangladesh and its solution would make the bilateral relationship smooth. What is conveniently forgotten is the long-standing issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh.

A report of the Group of Ministers on National Security, submitted in 2001, estimated that post-1971 approximately 12 million Bangladeshis have illegally migrated into various states of northeast India.

However, this number is expected to be much larger if one includes illegal Bangladeshi population residing in other parts of India. Moreover, the Bangladeshis have been illegally coming to India even after 2001.

While it is important for India is to take note of issues that concern Bangladesh, it is equally important for Bangladesh to be sensitive about issues that impact Indian interests. The issue of illegal migration is one such issue. This is something which the Bangladesh Government has to deal with sooner than later in the interest of better bilateral relations. This is necessary to make the government-to-government relationship between the two countries more sustainable.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no desire in Bangladesh to solve this issue to mutual satisfaction. In the past, successive governments in Bangladesh have denied the very existence of this problem. One of the country’s top diplomats had once even said that if Bangladeshis would have to illegally immigrate, they would rather swim to Italy than walk into India. The total denial of such a phenomenon only hardens sentiments in India over the issue.

It is true that Bangladesh’s economy has seen unprecedented growth, which has been growing at a rate of almost eight per cent last few years. While this has helped in improving the living standards of people in some parts of Bangladesh, a large part of the country still remains poor. These poor people can’t afford the cost of illegally immigrating to Italy. Ironically, only the relatively better-off people are trying to illegally immigrate to Europe. Most of the poor ones simply walk into India. This was clearly highlighted when some illegal migrants were recently deported from Karnataka.


Illegal immigration from Bangladesh, comprising both Hindus and Muslims, is an important issue from the national security perspective of India.

A large number of Bangladeshi immigrants are illegally living in India. Hindus are said to have migrated after facing religious persecution, whereas most of the Muslim migrants are termed as economic migrants.

The issue was further complicated sometime back when the Rohingya refugees originally from Myanmar started infiltrating into India through Bangladesh. It was suspected that the Bangladeshi authorities were consciously pushing these refugees into India. Some observers feel that Bangladesh probably hoped that the presence of Rohingyas in India would force India to take Bangladesh’s side against Myanmar. Moreover, Dhaka could also get rid of the thousands of Rohingyas living on its territory.

That minorities face violence and religious persecution in Muslim-majority countries in India’s neighbourhood like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, is well known. They are often dispossessed of their land and property and on many occasions even forced to convert. Their womenfolk are abducted and married off after converting them. Unfortunately, no international condemnation is expressed on these issues.

According to a Dhaka University professor Abul Barakat, from 1964 to 2013, around 11.3 million Hindus left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and discrimination.

This means on an average, 632 Hindus left Bangladesh each day and 230,612 annually.

This exodus mostly took place during the time of military governments after independence. The properties of the Hindus were taken away during the Pakistan regime describing them as enemy properties and the same were treated by the government after independence as vested property. These two measures have made 60 per cent of the Hindus landless in Bangladesh.

Though the present Sheikh Hasina Government has been trying to reassure the Bangladeshi Hindus, it has not been able to dispel the sense of fear prevalent among the Hindu minority population, which is being subjected to various types of discrimination at the societal level, generating in them the impulse for migration.

The Indian Government has clarified that the issue of NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA are internal to India. The CAA is intended to provide expeditious consideration of Indian citizenship to the persecuted minorities – those who entered into India on or before December 31, 2014 – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. It does not affect the existing avenues which are available to the other communities to seek citizenship. Nor does it seek to strip anybody of citizenship.

According to the Indian Home Ministry, nearly 4,000 people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have been given Indian citizenship in the past six years. This includes as many as 2,830 people from Pakistan, 912 from Afghanistan and 172 from Bangladesh. Out of this number, close to 600 people are Muslims who have been given Indian citizenship.7 Such migrants will continue to get Indian citizenship if they fulfil eligibility conditions.

As the India-Bangladesh relationship is currently strong and trust levels on both sides are high, this is the right time to deal with the issue of illegal migration.

Bangladesh has already documented its citizens and maintains a biometric record of them. The National Identity Registration Wing (NIDW) was created within the Bangladesh Election Commission for that purpose. The country has now also distributed machine-readable smart national identity (NID) cards among 10 crore citizens, replacing the earlier paper-laminated cards. India too is justified in undertaking a similar exercise. This will help India get a grip on the problem.


Once the documentation of citizens is done in India, both sides can share their database. This will help manage the problem in a much more amicable manner.

The Bangladeshis often claim that their citizens are killed on the border by the Indian paramilitary forces. The documentation of citizens on both sides will also help in handling this contentious issue.

The issue of illegal migration in the India-Bangladesh relationship cannot be swept under the carpet. It will continue to be a stumbling block in the sustenance of a stable relationship. It will be better if both sides look at the issue dispassionately especially when the trust levels are high.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Dr Anand Kumar

Dr Anand Kumar is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. His areas of specialization at IDSA are Counter-terrorism, South Asian politics, Bangladesh, Maldives, Proliferation of Small Arms and Low-intensity conflicts.

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Census India 2021, The World’s Largest Enumeration Exercise, To Begin On April 1

National Population Register (NPR) will be carried out along the house listing phase of the census.

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NEW DELHI: The 16th Indian Census will begin on April 1 this year for which the Government of India has decided to move away from the traditional pen and paper to a digital method by using an android based mobile application. A total of 33 lakh enumerators, the persons who conduct door-to-door counting, would be mobilised for data collection for which notification has already been issued.

The Registrar General and Census Commissioner Vivek Joshi said in a notification that the (census) officials have been instructed to ask as many as 31 questions from every household during both house-listing and housing census exercises.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 17A of the Census Act, 1948 (37 of 1948), the central government hereby extends the provisions of the said Act, for the conduct of a pre-test of the Census of India, 2021.


The pre-test shall be conducted from August 12, 2019, to September 30, 2019, in all the states and the Union Territories,” Joshi said in a notification.

For the first time in the 140-year history of the census in India, data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app and enumerators would be encouraged to use their own phone.

The notification, however, made it clear that the mobile number will be sought only for census-related communications and not for any other purpose.

In the first phase, house listing operations would be conducted in any two months chosen by the states between April and September in 2020.



In the second phase, actual population enumeration would be done during February 9 28, 2021, followed by the revision round from March 1 5, 2021

As with the previous editions, the enumerators will be visiting households to seek information from the citizens of the country about the number of television sets, vehicles they own, mobile number, about the number of toilets in their homes, internet services, etc.

The numerators will ask whether the head of the household belongs to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe or Other category, ownership status of the census house, number of dwelling rooms exclusively in possession of the household, number of married couple(s) living in the household, main source of drinking water, availability of drinking water source and main cereal consumed in the household.

Questions related to the main source of lighting, whether the family has access to a toilet, the type of toilet, wastewater outlet, availability of bathing facility, availability of kitchen and LPG/PNG connection and main fuel used for cooking will also be asked by the enumerators, the notification said.

The government has set a target of September 30 this year for the Census to be completed with as many as 31 questions from every household to be asked and filled up by the enumerators during both the house listing and housing phase of the census.


The usual list of residents of the country, National Population Register (NPR) will be carried out along the house listing phase of the census.

The reference date of the Census for Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh will be October 1, 2020, while for the rest of India the date will be March 1, 2021.

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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

Himachal, Kerala, TN, Chandigarh, Puducherry Leading India’s SDG 2030 Scores

Their scores are in the range of 65-69 of the total 100 points.

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The first review of the Agenda 2030 or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 was held on September 24-25, 2019 at the SDG Summit with some follow-up meetings taking place until mid-October 2019. It was preceded by a related review conference on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the third Financing for Development (FFD) Conference in April 2019. The two are held in parallel as the FFD process is aimed at garnering domestic and external sources of finance for achieving the SDGs.

The progress made by India in implementing the SDGs was documented in India’s first voluntary national review that was submitted to the High Level Political Forum on the SDGs in 2017.

The report also highlighted the measures adopted to spruce up the domestic resources through mainly internal tax reforms. The second report on progress will be presented at the High Level Political Forum in 2020.


As mentioned in the 2017 national review report, India is making the effort to ensure that its impressive growth trickles down to the last man standing through proactive state interventions. At both the review conferences, India’s representatives in the United Nations (UN) highlighted the domestic actions and flagship schemes that have had a notable impact.

The National Institution for Transforming India or NITI Aayog, the nodal agency for implementing the SDGs, has launched the India Index, an online dashboard, which monitors the implementation of the SDGs at the state level. It also provides incentives to the states, bringing in competition to better their performance.

As of now, the states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the union territories of Chandigarh and Puducherry are the front-runners with high composite scores, relating to thirteen of the seventeen goals that have been used to prepare the dashboard.

Their scores are in the range of 65-69 of the total 100 points. On individual goals, the scores go much higher in states other than the front runners. Some states have even achieved the targets on individual goals.



Table 1: States and Goals with a Score of 100

S.No. State/Union Territory Goals Achieved
1. Assam 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
2. Chandigarh 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
3. Chhattisgarh 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
4. Daman and Diu 1.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
5. Dadra and Nagar Haveli 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

2.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

3.Goal 15: Life on Land

6 Delhi 1.Goal 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
7. Goa 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
8. Gujarat 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
9. Lakshadweep 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

2.Goal 15: Life on Land

10. Manipur 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
11. Meghalaya 1.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
12. Mizoram 1.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
13. Odisha 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
14. Puducherry 1.Goal 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
15. Uttarakhand 1.Goal 15: Life on Land

The FFD and SDGs processes, however, are not only important for the synergies they bring to the actual achievement of goals. Their significance also lies in what they bring to the high table of global governance of development.

Significance:

In the yesteryears, issues of the have-nots that were pushed onto to the agenda of the UN by countries of the South was often regarded as instances of “the tyranny of the majority” by the North. Notwithstanding the ideological turn to liberalism by many countries of the South, their issues did not fade away. “Embedded liberalism” therefore needed to find ways of addressing the quandaries of the new entrants to the liberal order.

As a result of efforts from within the UN system, as well as flexible responses of the North and the South, a discursive middle ground on issues of development seems to have been arrived at. The FFD and SDG processes represent this middle ground.


The beginning of this process was in the mid-1990s, and the first notable achievement was the Monterrey Consensus of 2002, which, uniquely, was arrived at with the substantial involvement of Bretton Woods Institutions.

It was accepted that the needs of the liberal South required special attention from the North, but that the South itself needed to do much more to address its issues and could choose its own ways to do so. That set the ball rolling for a renewed focus on the importance of the official development assistance (ODA), a fairer system of international taxation, etc., which had been a part of the Southern discourse for decades.

The adoption of the SDGs even resulted in a complete revamping of the UN system for providing development assistance with the new system being unveiled in January 2019. It is important to highlight some aspects of India’s role in this process.

India’s Role:

Ideationally, as gleaned from interactions with the officials of the ministry of external affairs, India made three conscious contributions to the SDG and FFD processes.

India argued for the adoption of nationally determined indicators for the SDG goals, thus ensuring that nations remained committed to the goals adopted and the goals themselves were achievable.

It also pushed for greater sensibility towards women’s requirements in the adoption of the SDGs.

And finally, it pushed for the creation of a Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) to further the achievement of the SDGs. The significance of these is evident from the fact that all the three eventually found a place in the outcome documents of the processes.

Diplomatically, India participated in these processes as part of the G77, a group of developing countries or the South that was formed in the 1960s and was responsible in part for the “tyranny” referred to earlier. On some issues, these countries had the support of some developed countries as well.


Within the group though, India’s commitment to South-South Cooperation too has come of age. India has set up the India-UN Development Partnership Fund by providing US$150 million for it.

The Fund works to promote the SDGs in developing countries and functions on the principles of South-South Cooperation.

Since its inception in March 2017, 38 projects have been identified with 36 partner countries, and 29 are at various stages of implementation. India’s funding helps track progress through data collection on achieving the targets related to the SDGs.

A sum of $176 million has been committed to the Fund for the next decade to focus on developmental projects in the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

As highlighted in the report of the Fund, the projects cover a range of thematic areas such as climate resilience, environmental sustainability, gender equality, renewable energy, improving women’s and maternal health, water and sanitation, education, employment and livelihoods, disaster recovery and risk management, and agricultural development and infrastructure.

India also supports the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.

Institutionally, India has demonstrated a bold commitment to multilateralism by providing funding to the UN Tax Trust Fund since its establishment in 2017; bold as it is the only country to have done so. An amount of $100,000 has been provided for two consecutive years.

At a special meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on International Cooperation in Tax Matters in April 2019, the Indian representative explained that in addition to the major tasks at hand like the UN Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries, and the mutual agreement procedure for dispute avoidance and resolution, the Transfer Pricing Manual, the Extractive Industries Handbook, the Manual for the Negotiation of Bilateral Tax Treaties, etc., the Council should especially focus on the issue that is going to impact the developing countries the most i.e. tax consequences of the digitised economy on the achievement of SDGs.

An Enduring Lineage:

On all three parameters – ideational, diplomatic and institutional – India’s role is a continuation of a long lineage. In the realm of ideas, India has long been associated with contributions to international norms that have upheld the economic sovereignty of developing countries.

Diplomatically, India has worked mostly with the G77 coalition on economic matters which overtime has found a way of arriving at consensus statements that benefit the least well off and do not harm the better off.

Institutionally, since the inception of Bretton Woods Institutions and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) outside the purview of the UN, India’s endeavour has always been to strengthen the role of the UN in economic matters through the establishment of forums such as the Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development (SUNFED) for transfer of technology and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for ensuring that the trading system is deferential to the developmental requirements of the Southern nations.

While the UNCTAD endures with partial successes, the SUNFED, similar to initiatives like the New International Economic Order (NIEO), was not successful for lack of support from the developed world despite the adoption of General Assembly resolutions. It therefore remains to be seen if this renewed attempt at seeking financial support for achieving the SDGs, this time being worked through the ECOSOC, will succeed.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Arpita Anant

Arpita Anant is an Associate Fellow at IDSA. She joined the Institute in 2007 and was associated with the Internal Security Centre until 2012. Based on field study, her research focussed on the transition in the state of Jammu and Kashmir from a period of high levels of turmoil due to terrorism during the 1990s.

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