Srinagar: The government of India has agreed to allow Nagaland to raise its own army—Naga Army—under the peace accord that the Narendra Modi-led Indian government signed with former militant outfit National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) on August 3, 2015, a Naga leader has told The Caravan magazine.
Nagas have been fighting for a separate sovereign state since 1940s and the Government of India had initiated scores of dialogue process with the warring groups to end militancy.
Anthony Ningkhan Shimray, a permanent member of NSCN, in an interview with The Caravan magazine said that the historic peace agreement signed on August 3, 2015, allows Nagas to raise their own army.
“Yes, but that [the procurement] has to be at a small scale and in consultation with the Indian government, or they have to provide us,” said Shimray, member of the former armed group who was arrested and bailed out in 2010.
“For [the Government of] India, this arrangement is not about the economy, but [about] security and defence,” he added.
Shimray said that Nagaland would be bestowed with judicial, law and order and administrative powers under the agreement.
“In order to protect the security of India, we need to have a joint defence, the NEF [North East Frontier], the Indian army and the Naga army will [have a] joint defence. That is all in the framework agreement. Naga and India will go as two separate entities. We will be owners of our land and resources and will have partnership with Indian companies,” he said.
According to him, Nagalim (Greater Nagaland) would be a “secular” state.
“There will be no religious and racial discrimination. Nagas will be the owner of their land,” he said.