|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
PM's Nagaland visit to consolidate peace process
Josy Joseph in New Delhi | October 27, 2003 10:34 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday embarks on a critical three-day visit to Nagaland in an effort to consolidate the peace process in the sensitive northeastern state.
Vajpayee's first visit to Nagaland as prime minister is part of his continuing efforts to usher peace in India's troubled states, say senior officials. Since August 1997, a ceasefire has been in force between the Naga rebels and security forces. It is likely to continue as long as "talks do not break down," said a senior official.
The prime minister would be briefed about the ongoing negotiations with the NSCN (I-M) and the security situation in the state.
The prime minister is expected to announce an economic package for the state, including several development projects.
"It is the first time that the prime minister would be interacting with such a large cross-section of people from Nagaland," points out a senior officer involved in affairs of the Northeast.The state government will host a civic reception for the prime minister at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Kohima.
The visit is also politically significant. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is heading an anti-Congress coalition, which includes the Bharatiya Janata Party among others. Rio is convener of the anti-Congress North Eastern Forum.
The BJP hopes that the prime minister's will help the party and its allies make further inroads into the Northeast.
More reports from Nagaland
Read about: Naga Ceasefire