P. Sunderarajan

Interim solution must be found: Neiphiu Rio

  • Centre should clearly define "look east" policy
  • Specific policy needed for IT development
  • Better connectivity with rest of country needed

    DIMAPUR: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Friday called upon the Central Government to make greater efforts to ensure that the peace talks with Naga insurgents reaches its logical conclusion at the earliest, bringing permanent peace.

    "The people of the State are getting frustrated that the peace talks with the NSCN (National Socialist Council of Nagaland) are still going on. There is a need for greater commitment from the Centre to the peace process. There is need for at least some interim solution at the earliest. It can then be built on for a final solution over a period of time."

    He was speaking to journalists after participating in a function here where Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal announced a series of measures for the development of Nagaland.

    Path of non-violence

    Asked about the recent developments over the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Mr. Rio said the legislation needed to be scrapped. "The Act is not good. In a democracy, none can have powers to shoot or arrest people without warrants."

    On the efforts to step up the agitation against the legislation by groups in Manipur and Nagaland, he said it would be good if they followed the path of non-violence. "This is the country of Mahatma Gandhi. He has taught us the virtues of non-violence to fight for our rights."

    Earlier, speaking at the function, he urged the Centre to define "properly" its "look east" policy. "The look east policy of the Government of India has been on the anvil for a number of years now. We are, however, disappointed that this has not yet been properly defined and, therefore, we are not sure what it really means. Whether it means that India will look towards the economies of Southeast Asia, China and Japan etc., or that India will look towards its own eastern frontiers and build it up to be the springboard for its economic interface with economies of East Asia."

    An ideal vehicle

    He also emphasised the need for a specific policy for development of information technology, both hardware and software, in the northeast. This, he said, can be built on the relative strengths of the region such as its very high literacy rate, wide knowledge of English and its cool and clean environment. "IT, which is a low volume and high value industry, would be an ideal vehicle to carry forward the development of the region."

    In addition, Mr. Rio urged the Centre to set up laboratories to test the economic viability of the region's biodiversity. The region should also be helped to face various natural calamities, particularly as it was prone to earthquakes, landslips and floods.

    Nagaland needed a well-equipped seismic station and a doppler radar system for better weather forecasts. They would be useful not only for Nagaland, but for the entire region. "Such a state-of-the-art [doppler radar] facility in Nagaland will be a true statement of the `look east' policy of the country," Mr. Rio said. He called for extending the latest development in communication technology to the region.