//Crucial Naga peace talks begins today

Crucial Naga peace talks begins today

New Delhi, Jan. 28 (PTI): The crucial peace talks between Naga militant outfit NSCM(IM) and the Centre will begin in Bangkok today amidst uncertainty over the fate of the ongoing ceasefire agreement, which expires on Jan 31.

Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs Oscar Fernandes, and interlocutor for Naga talks K Padmanabhaiah, will meet the NSCN(IM) leadership today to work out modalities for extension of the ceasefire, sources said.The talks assume significance with the outfit mounting pressure on the Government to decide on their demand of integration of Naga-dominated areas or face breakdown of the almost seven-year ceasefire.

The militant outfit has been insisting on integration of Naga-dominated areas and had even threatened to end the ceasefire agreement if the Government did not take a decision on their central demand soon.The recent talks failed to make any headway as the NSCN(IM) leaders had been insisting on "Greater Nagalim" which also includes parts of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

Naga leaders Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, came to India and held several rounds of talks with the government from December, 2004 to May,2005 Last month, Fernandes and Padmanabhaiah had visited Bangkok for talks with the NSCN(IM) leaders but returned without any assurance from the insurgents over ceasefire extension.Fernandes, had said last week he was hopeful that the ceasefire would be extended as "everyone wants peace"