Nagaland 12 Month Outlook: The Struggle For Independence


    Nagaland 12 month
    Nagaland inhabitants reunited to celebrate the Hornbill Festival. Photo credit Carsten ten Brink via Flickr.


    Nagaland, a northeast region of India, has struggled to obtain independence from the Indian central government since the early 1950s. The quest for autonomy is linked to cultural, ethnic, and historical backgrounds, different from the Indian ones. However, the Indian government never recognized these factors as legitimate to obtaining legal independence. Since the decline of Naga independence in the 1950s, violent insurgencies have sparked in the Nagaland region. Violent clashes still happen today between rebel groups in Nagaland (i.e., NSCN and NSCN-K) and the Indian government. In Nagaland’s 12-month outlook it is unlikely it obtains formal independence. Therefore, armed struggles will continue. 

    Key Judgement 1

    Nagaland insurgency is highly likely to continue in the next 12 months. 

    • Nagaland witnessed 50 years of violent insurgencies. These insurgencies are unlikely to stop until Nagaland obtains independence from the Indian central government.

    • The creation of a “Greater Nagalim” will end the insurgency. The “Greater Nagalim” will include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. 
    • Nonetheless, India will not concede to PM Modi to expand the already existent Nagaland’s borders. 

    Key Judgement 2

    The AFSPA is unlikely to be removed from Nagaland in the next 12 months. 

    • The Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) gives illimited powers to Army forces to conduct any operations, from arresting without a warrant to obtaining immunity for erroneous shootings.
    • In December 2021, 13 civilians were killed in the district of Mon in a counter-insurgency operation led by the Indian Army. As by the AFSPA, the Indian Army opened fire on the crowd of insurgents. 
    • Without the withdrawal of the AFSPA, insurgencies are highly likely to continue. Nonetheless, the Indian government will not remove the Act as India government considers it the only way to maintain peace in Nagaland. 

    Nagaland 12 month
    Irom Sharmila’s 16 years hunger strike for the removal of the AFSPA. Photo by lecercle via Flickr.

    Key Judgement 3

    Peace agreements are reasonably possible whether the Indian central government will concede Nagaland’s self-autonomy in the next 12 months.  

    • In 1975, the Shillong Accord stated that Nagaland accepted the supremacy of India over the region. Nonetheless, the conflict never settled as the NSCNIM opposed the agreement.
    • Peace agreements between Nagaland and India will be unlikely while AFSPA continues to exist. 
    • In addition, Nagaland is unlikely to abandon their cultural, ethnic, and historical backgrounds to accept the supremacy of the Indian government. 
    Bianca Bonardi
    Bianca Bonardi
    Bianca is a graduate student in Criminology at Goldsmiths College of London. She recently finished her post-graduate studies in Terrorism and Security at King's College of London. Her research is mainly focused on Middle East issues and International Terrorist threats.

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