Nudge to Myanmar and Naga factions

New Delhi, Apr 28 : India today told Myanmar to ask the Naga militant group led by S.S. Khaplang to stop helping other Indian rebel outfits, while refraining from renewing its 11-year-old truce with the faction.

To increase the pressure on Khaplang, New Delhi signed a tit-for-tat “ceasefire” with a rival Naga group.

Last week, India had conveyed to Myanmar its disappointment that the ceasefire Myanmar had signed with the NSCN (Khaplang) this month did not include a pro-India clause.

“It has been communicated that they should include a clause that will prevent the Khaplang group from helping other Indian militant groups,” a government source said.

Today’s one-year pact between the Centre and the NSCN (Kitovi-Khole) faction was apparently prompted by the Myanmar-Khaplang truce, a rare instance of Indian rebels signing an agreement with a foreign government.

The Centre appears to view the Kitovi-Khole group as a countervailing force against not only Khaplang but also the Thuingaleng Muivah-led NSCN (IM), whose talks with New Delhi have been a roller-coaster ride.

Shambhu Singh, the joint secretary (Northeast) in the home ministry, confirmed that New Delhi did not renew its agreement with the Khaplang group today.

He said the government had asked the outfit for clarifications on its alleged help in Myanmar to other Indian insurgent outfits.

Sources said Khaplang group representatives were asked how the members of a Manipur-based militant outfit had been held along with its cadres in Myanmar’s Mon town yesterday.

NSCN (Khaplang) supervisor Lincoln later said he was “hopeful that the differences will be sorted out”. Singh echoed him.

Today’s agreement in Delhi was signed by the Kitovi-Khole group’s supervisor C. Singson and “Lieutenant General” N.B. Neokpao, and Shambhu Singh.

Kitovi Zhimomi, the “prime minister” of the “people’s republic of Nagaland”, was present at the signing.