F.I.P.I.C. – Narendra Modi’s Unsung Achievement


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 18, 2015           07.40 P.M.

When history is being created, it is very difficult to guess its importance, analyse its impact and appreciate its value. It is much easier to appreciate the importance, impact and value of the events when history is finally made and the leader is gone. Appreciation becomes more difficult in India when the achiever is Narendra Modi, who is adored by millions but deplored by few for reasons best known to them only. So many epoch-making decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the realm of Foreign Affairs seem to be inconsequential to these haters and because of the cacophony created by them along with media, are beyond the comprehension of even the students of current affair and contemporary history. Even scholars of foreign affairs are not very much appreciative of the endeavours of Prime Minister Modi for some of his epoch-making initiatives.

If Congress and Left-Liberal Intellectuals along with paid Media can’t fathom and accept the gigantic victorious juggernaut of Narendra Modi in India, [ May 2014 – October 2015 ] then I can understand their denial mode regarding the achievements of foreign policy because generally they are not visible on terra firma so soon.

India Under Modi in 2015

India Under Modi in 2015

Three initiatives in the field of foreign affairs, in my opinion, are truly historic and may be finally appreciated only after Modi is gone. They are :

1 – Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation [ FIPIC ]

2 – Indian Ocean Outreach Programme [ IOOP ]

3 – India-Africa Forum Summit [ IAFS ]

The third initiative India-Africa Forum Summit [ IAFS ]  is not Prime Minister Modi’s creation. But under him is has become gigantic. If something grows to 54 from 14/15, it deserves appreciation. So I consider it to be his initiative.

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The 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015 is going to be held in New Delhi from 26-30 October. Mandarins of the Ministry of External Affairs are spending sleepless nights to achieve the lofty goals set by Prime Minister Modi. Leaders of all the 54 countries have been personally invited and are expected to take part in the summit. Only 14 African countries participated in the 1st India-Africa Forum Summit, which was held from April 4 to April 8, 2008 in New Delhi.

The 2nd India-Africa Forum Summit was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from May 24 to May 25, 2011. 15 countries participated in the summit. So the 3rd edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit is the biggest ever congregation of the African Heads of State. It stands in direct contrast to the much-lauded Forum on China-Africa Cooperation & United States-Africa Leaders Summit.

This summit is only a week away, so I will write about it next week.

Indian Ocean Island Nations

Indian Ocean Island Nations

Before this, Narendra Modi went on the tour of India Ocean Island Nations. He toured Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles. It is known as INDIAN OCEAN OUTREACH PROGRAMME. This historic tour and foreign affair initiative was largely ignored by myopic India media and Prime Minister Modi’s haters. I will talk about this some other time.

14 Pacific Island Nations

14 Pacific Island Nations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 1st initiative in foreign affairs is known as Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation [FIPIC]. FIPIC is also ignored by the students and scholars of foreign affairs alike. They think that it is useless exercise of Prime Minister Modi in self-promotion.

FIPIC is a multinational grouping developed in 2014 by Prime Minister Modi for cooperation between India and 14 Pacific Islands nations which include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. All Head of state/head of government of the above countries met in Suva, Fiji in November 2014 for the first time where the annual summit was conceptualised by Prime Minister Modi.

Flag of the 14 member nations :

 India
 Cook Islands
 Fiji
 Kiribati
 Marshall Islands
 Micronesia (Suspended sine die)
 Nauru
 Niue
 Samoa
 Solomon Islands
 Palau
 Papua New Guinea
 Tonga
 Tuvalu
 Vanuatu

1st FIPIC Summit – Suva, Fiji ============================

1st FIPIC Summit

Prime Minister of India, PM Narendra Modi chose to visit Fiji soon after democracy was re-established in the island country after 8 years. There, apart from bilateral meeting, he also met heads of state/government from 14 pacific island states to enhance India’s engagement in the region and proposed a ‘Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation’ (FIPIC) be held on a regular basis. He conveyed India’s keenness to work closely with Pacific Island nations to advance their development priorities in this regard a number of measures to strengthen India’s partnership in the region were proposed. which include :

1- Setting up of a ‘special fund of $1 million’ for adapting climate change vis-a-vis clean energy,

2- Establishing a ‘trade office’ in India,

3- ‘Pan Pacific Islands e-network’ to close the physical distance between the islands by improving digital connectivity,

4- Extending visa on arrival at Indian airports for all the fourteen Pacific Island countries,

5- ‘Space cooperation’ in space technology applications for improving the quality of life of the islands,

6- ‘Training to diplomats’ from Pacific Island countries to increase mutual understanding.

 

2nd FIPIC Summit – Jaipur, India

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2nd FIPIC Summit

One of the key outcome of the first summit in Suva, Fiji was that top leadership of both India and Pacific Islands should meet at a regular interval and an annual summit should be instituted in this regard. Prime Minister Modi invited all the 14 Pacific Islands nations head of states/head of government to India for the next rounds of talks in 2015. Jaipur, known as Pink city, was selected to host the main summit on 21 August 2015.
As per of India’s extended Act East policy, the South Asian country is actively promoting good relations with smaller islands nations of the South Pacific, along with heavyweights in the region, and cooperating on multiple issues which include blue economy (ocean based economy), oil and natural gas, mining, IT, health care, fishing and marine research. Space collaboration with Pacific countries are of vital for India as they provide ISRO, India’s space administration, an eye to monitor launch of their rockets.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee welcomed all the visiting dignitaries at Rastrapati Bhavan on 20 August 2015 following which leaders went to Agra, on their way to Jaipur the summit venue, for a tour of Taj Mahal.

Indian media and Prime Minister Modi haters ignored Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation [ FIPIC ]. But not our arch-rival China. It was quite significant to see Chinese President Xi Jinping following Modi’s trail visited Fiji on 21 November (just 2 days after Prime Minister Modi’s trip) to meet a similar gathering of leaders indicating a struggle for influence between the two Asian giants in the island countries of south pacific. If you look at the location of FIPIC countries, and if you not blind by Narendra Modi hate, you can gauge its importance. All the FIPIC countries are located at the triangle of Asia, Australia and America continents. They are close to the west coast of USA, almost adjacent to Australia and New Zealand. They are south of China and Japan and East of Vietnam. Modi haters should know that this region is called by China as SOUTH CHINA SEA, the current flash point of China’s sea hegemony. With its presence there, India can monitor China and can be of some help to friendly countries like Japan and Vietnam. By being there, India can also take care of its strategic economic interests in the PACIFIC SEA REGION.

 

 

Strategic Lacation of FIPIC

Strategic Location of FIPIC

 

Indian National Congress has developed unfathomable allergy to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I challenge them to cite initiatives taken by them in the arena of foreign affairs. Barring now moribund NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT [ started by the 1st Prime Minister of India Late Jawaharlal Nehru ] , there is no such initiative in sight.

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I congratulate my Prime Minister Narendra Modi for such epoch-making but unsung initiative in the field of foreign policy.

[ Historical facts, data and other material about Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation [ FIPIC ] / Indian Ocean Outreach Programme [ IOOP ] & India-Africa Forum Summit [ IAFS ] have been taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

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Nagaland Peace Accord & Narendra Modi


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In a remarkable move the officials of government of India signed a peace agreement with a  major Naga tribal group, waging a guerrilla war with the central government for over past six decades. The agreement besides restoring peace in the region also attempts to build institutions bestowing greater autonomy to Naga tribes. The peace pact reached between the government of India and the largest militant faction of the North East, National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), NSCN (IM) can significantly bring down the insurgent insurrection. While the finer details of the accord and the mechanisms of its execution are still under wraps the move is welcomed by all political parties. Modi recalling it as a major triumph under the flag of Act East Policy reiterated that restoring peace, economic and social progression of North East has been his utmost priority.

To appreciate the crux of the issue, it is worth recapitulating the genesis and epic-proportions of the Naga insurgency tale. The undivided Goalpara district or the Assam province which was under the control of the Ahom rulers of Burma became part of the Bengal Subah of the Mughal Empire after conflicts. Subsequently in 1765 it fell into the hands of East India Company along with Bengal and became part of the special administrative region of North-Eastern parts of Rangpur. After a series of Anglo- Burmese wars and enforcement of Doctrine of Lapse the entire region of Assam was annexed to British India by 1833 (1). British later on captured several Naga territories and consolidated them under the Naga Hills district in Assam. Actually each Naga village was sovereign and ruled by tribal heads and Naga tribes had no common identity. British guilefully permitted the penetration of Christian Missionaries into the region and inadvertently religion fostered unity between Naga tribes.

Nagas were recruited by British during World War I as labour corps and sent to France. But they were alienated from rest of the British Indian troops and this alienation promoted unity between them. Upon returning to their homeland Nagas with few British officials formed the Naga Club in 1918.  Under the government act of 1919 British declared Naga Hill district as backward tract and treated it as separate entity. In 1928 Naga club submitted a memorandum to Simon Commission requesting that Nagas be allowed to have right to self-determination after their departure from India. In 1930’s the Naga tribes under the leader of Haipou Jadonang and Rani Gaidinliu rebelled against British. As per Government Act of India 1935, the Naga Hill district was declared as an Excluded area administered by Governor of Assam.

In 1945 C. R. Pawsney formed a Naga Hills District Tribal Race which evolved into Nagaland National Council (NNC) under the leadership of Angami Zapi Phizo. Phizo considered as Father of Nagas led an armed secessionist revolution and campaigned for a sovereign Naga nation. On August 14th 1947, a day before India’s independence Phizo declared the independence of Nagaland. Anticipating a stiff opposition from the insurgent group of Nagas prior to declaration of independence in June, 1947 the governor of Assam Sir Akbar Hyderi initiated peace talks. He signed a 9-point agreement with moderate members of NNC. The Hyderi accord agreed to grant judicial, executive and legislative powers and autonomy in land related matters. But the constituent assembly failed to ratify the accord that envisioned Naga demand for a sovereign state with India as a Guardian power for 10 years.  Instead they were granted district autonomy within Indian constitution.

In 1948 an agreement was reached between NCN and Government of India recognising Naga people right to self-determination (3). But NNC under the leadership of Phizo intensified their demand to establish a sovereign Naga state. He conducted a referendum in 1951 wherein nearly 99% voted for an independent Nagaland. Phizo has called for boycott of general elections in 1952 and launched violent secessionist movement. He also met Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951 and 1952 with a petition for sovereign status and separate electorate for Nagas but was refused. He was later in Burma arrested for illegal entry. Phizo then created an underground government, Naga Federal Government (NFG) and Naga Federal Army (NFA) on March 22nd 1956 (4). To quell the raising insurgency, government inducted Armed Forces and enforced Armed Forced (Special Powers) Act in 1958. Phizo escaped to East Pakistan in 1956 and lived in exile till death in London.

In the meanwhile government of India placed Naga Hills District under the tribal districts “Part A” category as per the sixth schedule of constitution, as an autonomous district governed by Governor of Assam with a limited representation in Assam state legislative assembly and Indian Parliament. This arrangement was refused by the Naga leaders. Hence along Tuensang division it was placed in “Part B” category as an area in the North East Frontier Agency under the administrative authority of Ministry of External Affairs in 1957. Following negotiations with secessionists the region was later converted into a full-fledged state of Nagaland in 1963, December 1st.

Government constituted a peace mission consisting of Jaya Prakash Narain, Assam chief minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha and Rev Michael Scott that signed an Agreement for Suspension of Operation (AGSOP) with insurgent groups in April, 1964. But relentless violations by NNC and NFG continued to rock the state in spite of the six rounds of peace negotiations. The peace mission was abandoned in 1967. In 1972 government launched a massive counter-insurgency operation and banned the NNC and NFG under the unlawful associations act. Situation was brought under control by 1975 and a section of the NNC and NFG on November 11th 1975 signed the famous Shillong Accord. Consequently the Naga rebels accepted the supremacy of Indian constitution, renounced arms and demand for secession of Nagaland from India (5).

But peace still eluded this region as nearly 150 rebels who were away in China and Burma for training during the signing of agreement refused to accept the final settlement with Indian government. Among them the trio of Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muviah and S, Khaplang blatantly rejected the agreement and in the next five years parted from ways with NNC and created National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980. This group quickly emerged as a strong rebel contingent and NNC-NFG became less active. But by 1988 the rebellion within the group resulted in splintering of the unit into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) and the names of factions denote the rebel leaders heading them. In 1990 after death of Phizo, NNC split into NNC (A) led by Phizo’s daughter Adino and NNC (K) headed by Vice-president Khodao Yanthan. NNC (K) later merged with NSCN (IM) (6). Each of the splinter groups represents different tribes. Konyaks group is led by S. Khaplang of NSCN (K), a Hemie Naga from Myanmar. Tangkhuls led by Isak, a Sema from Nagaland and Muivah a Tangkhul from Ukhrul district of Manipur.

Irrespective of the tribes they represent, the ultimate aspiration of the Naga leaders has been to merge the contiguous areas of the Naga territories and create a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, four times the size of Nagaland. The putative Naga territory encompasses districts in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. Hence each of these states is wily of such a demand. This desire for Nagalim is so entrenched that even the elected representatives of the Nagaland assembly still continue to pass the resolution on the need for carving out Nagalim. India signed cease-fire agreements with NSCN (IM) in 1997 and with NSCN (K) in 2001. While NSCN (IM) has climbed down on their demand for a sovereign state for Nagas, they are particular about the creation of Nagalim. During the ceasefire period violent conflicts erupted between these two rival factions of NSCN.  Government of India held as many as 80 negotiations through interlocutors and monitored by the ceasefire commission with these factions. It emerged that NSCN (IM) has been sincere in its commitment.

NSCN (K) violated ceasefire agreement in March 2015, drawing support from ULFA, Bodos and Manipur militants it surfaced as United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia. It executed an attack on Indian Army which resulted in the death of 18 jawans in Manipur on June 4th 2015. The present accord is termed historic as government clinched an agreement with the largest Naga groups which in turn can pave way for bringing other minor Naga factions on board. Prime Minister Modi is believed to have effectively utilised the good will created by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who wooed Nagas with his immaculate gestures and open confessions. He was the only Prime Minister fondly remembered by people of Nagaland for appreciating and recognising their unique history and frankly admitting the failures of Indian government that left trails of blood in the state (7).

According the interlocutor RN Ravi, the ground work for the accord has been done under the UPA government but the indecisive leadership frittered away the opportunity for a major breakthrough in 2012. Perhaps, the recent ceasefire violations by NSCN (K) propelled central leadership into swift action and spurred them to clinch an agreement with its rival faction NSCN (IM). But for the collaborative action of Ajit Doval, interlocutor RN Ravi, Nagaland governor PB Acharya and the Naga People’s front leader TR Zeliang this mission couldn’t have been achieved.

While the details of the initial framework agreement are sketchy, it is believed that since government of India will not compromise on the sovereignty and integrity of the country, redrawing of state boundaries may be ruled out. But the accord might have entailed upon greater autonomy to the Naga dominated regions in the various states. While article 371 (A)   already accords special status to Nagaland, government might consider strengthening it further (8).

The accord signed by Modi is truly iconic as it comes after a long duration of unrelenting parley of peace negotiations with promise of restoring the peace in the region marred with violence. The pact epitomizes the exemplary statesmanship of Modi and his steadfast commitment to make North East region more inclusive. The true test for the government lies in carefully dealing with different state governments of the region, in decommissioning arms of rebels and their absorption into mainstream and chalking out a robust long-term development projects for the North East.

[ For this article I am indebted to Mr. Ramaharitha Pusarla . He published the article on August 06, 2015 under the title of “Historic Naga Accord” in the website MyIndMakers. I am posting verbatim that very article and I express my deep gratitude and indebtedness to Mr. Pusarla. ]

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