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Modi: Naga peace accord will help entire northeast

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New Delhi:  Acknowledging the role of previous governments in the peace process in Nagaland, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hoped that the successful talks with the (NSCN-IM)will pave the way for development in the entire northeast. “Every government tried doing something in this regard, some efforts succeeded, some did not. The process went on, and no government should take credit for it as every one of them contributed its bit and this resulted in successful talks with them (NSCN-IM),” he said while inaugurating the birth centenary celebrations of Naga leader Rani Gaidinliu. “I hope the journey (with NSCN-IM and others), which has started, would give good results,” he said. Modi also expressed regret that many freedom fighters and prominent personalities who contributed to the cause of the country were not “remembered adequately”. The prime minister said India must remember the glorious heritage of the freedom struggle and ensure that the legacy of the struggles and achievements of freedom fighters is passed on to succeeding generations.

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“It is our misfortune that people such as Rani Gaidinliu have either not been remembered adequately, or have been deliberately forgotten,” he said in his address. Gaidinliu, affectionately called Rani Maa, believed that her struggle for the Naga people against the British was also a struggle for India’s unity and integrity, he said. Modi also credited Gaidinliu with spreading the message of Mahatma Gandhi in the northeast region. Modi said Gaidinliu’s thoughts on living in harmony with nature could provide an answer to the problem of climate change being faced by the world today. The prime minister also spoke of his government’s initiatives for the development of the northeast. He reiterated that the progress of the northeast will provide a big boost to the development of the entire nation. “India will develop only if the northeast develops,” Modi said, adding that the central government was committed to overall development of the region. “We are putting in maximum efforts to build infrastructure in the northeast,” he said.

The prime minister also said that following the resolution of the border dispute with Bangladesh, connectivity with the northeast was set to become easier. “The northeast has now become closer to the rest of India.” Stating that the northeast was blessed with abundant natural bounty, he said the region has the potential to become the organic capital of the country. Coins of Rs.5 and Rs.100 were also released by the prime minister to mark the occasion. The Rs.5 coin will be circulated while the Rs.100 coin will be of commemorative nature. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minster Arun Jaitley and Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh also spoke on the occasion. Rajnath Singh said as Durgawati and Rani Laxmi Bai were mentioned in the history of the freedom struggle, the name of Gaidinliu should have been given the same prominence. “Historians have failed to do justice with Rani Gaidinliu,” the home minister said, adding that the recent peace accord with the NSCN-IM takes forward her dream of securing peace and stability in the region.

Jaitley said that remembering Gaidinliu would help the northeast come closer to the mainstream. “It would go a long way in creating a sense of involvement (among the people there),” he said, addressing the function largely attended by school children. Jitendra Singh said Gaidinliu was a symbol of the legacy and heritage of the northeast. He also announced a fund of Rs.983.08 lakh for setting up a library-cum-museum at Kohima as a tribute to Gaidinliu. Born on January 26, 1915, Rani Gaidinliu joined her cousin Haipou Jadonang’s movement at the age of 13 to drive out the British from Manipur. In 1932, she was arrested at the age of 16 and sentenced to life in prison. She was released from Tura jail (now in Meghalaya) after having spent 14 years in various prisons. She died on February 17, 1993, at Longkao in Manipur. Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya, Nagaland Chief minister T.R. Zeliang, Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh and Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma were also present on the occasion.

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)