Revisiting the Naga conflict: What can India do to resolve this conflict?

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Small wars and Insurgencies, Routledge, Volume 24, Number 5, p.795–812 (2013)



Armed conflict, Ceasefires, Integration, Manipur, Naga, Nagaland, Northeast India, NSCN-IM


Soon after India attained its independence from British colonial administration in 1947 the Nagas started waging an armed conflict against India to establish a sovereign independent state in Nagaland in the country's Northeast region. The conflict is today one of the world's longer running and little known armed conflicts. India's central government has tried unsuccessfully to tackle the problem through political reconciliation, use of force, and several development measures. Over the years, it has also undergone several changes in which the situation of conflict deepened whenever India's central government intervened. And yet, the road ahead also faces severe challenges because the demand for bringing the Nagas of India together into a single political entity will not go unchallenged from other ethnic groups. Moreover, a bitter leadership battle divides the Naga rebels and hence any future agreement is likely to be difficult due to factional politics as have happened in the past. Thus one way to satisfy the aspirations of different ethnic groups while protecting the boundaries of the existing states in India is to explore the option of cultural autonomy. This idea is not entirely new, but has lost significance over the years.


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