President Ram Nath Kovind said Nagaland was at the threshold of making history as the final agreement on the Naga political will would soon be arrived at and a lasting peace achieved.
The last 50 years had been of achievements as well as difficulties for the north-eastern state and the people of the State deserved this, he said. "Today, Nagaland is on the edge of making history. After years of insurgency, there is hope and with the support of the people of the state, of the civil society institutions and all the stakeholders, there is an opportunity for a lasting peace," the president said.
The expectations for a lasting peace have gone up in Nagaland, which had been hit by insurgency for decades, after the Centre and the NSCN(IM) signed a framework agreement in 2015. Nagaland Governor P B Acharya had also said on September 19 that the vexed Naga issue would be solved within the next one or two months. Kovind said Nagaland had a unique situation -- there was no opposition -- and that this also offered a chance to resolve the long-standing political problems and bring a lasting peace.
Since November 2015, all 60 MLAs of the state are part of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland, led by the Naga People's Front. Congratulating all the Naga groups for having come so far, the president expressed confidence that "a final agreement -- one that is fair to all and meets the expectations and aspirations of all -- will be reached soon." Kovind was addressing a gathering on the occasion of the 54th Nagaland Statehood Day, which coincided with the inaugural function of the Hornbill Festival, an annual tourism festival, at Naga Heritage Village Kisama, some 12 km south of state capital Kohima.
The president said the Hornbill Festival perfectly showcased the rich Naga culture and traditions, preserved over the years in the form of music, dance and food. He said the key to Nagaland's development was infrastructure and connectivity projects. These would link the north-eastern state with new markets, both in India and abroad, and that was one of the key goals of the Government of India's Act East Policy, he said.
Appealing to the NSCN(K) to join the dialogue process, Governor Acharya said, "A permanent solution should boost the progress and development of the state." Chief Minister T R Zeliang said, "We have already witnessed 20 long years of the peace process and another two years after the signing of the Framework Agreement." But as the vexed Naga political issue still remained unresolved, the full potential and growth of the state had been delayed, he added.