Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the 75th year of India’s independence is an occasion to celebrate the remarkable contributions of Nagaland and the Nagas in the journey of the nation thus far.
Nagaland is contributing and a participating member of India’s nation-building process decades since it evolved as a confident state, Rio said while delivering the 75th Independence Day speech at Secretariat Plaza in Kohima today.
“Our brave soldiers have fought the country’s enemies and guarded our borders with courage and valour,” he said.
He added that the artistes, musicians and cultural ambassadors from Nagaland have added to the vibrant diversity of the country.
Rio said in the fields of public affairs, bureaucracy, judiciary, sports and the fourth estate, the citizens of the state have served the country with exemplary distinction.
“Our nation since its birth has been moving ahead with determination in every domain and today it has come to secure its place amongst the most important and influential nations in the world. Unitedly we have all worked and marched together to take our nation to a position that we all could be now proud of,” he stated.
“As a part of this great country we continue to be in pursuit of the final solution of the Naga political issue which remains as old as this nation itself,” he said.
He said hopes have risen to a great extent as in recent years as the Naga political groups have been in ceasefire with the Government of India for a long time and the peace talks over the years have made significant progress.
Rio added that the Naga people sincerely appreciate the Government of India for recognising the unique history and position of the Naga people and for acknowledging the problem as a political issue.
He said the State Government has over the past years played the role of active facilitator to the ongoing Indo-Naga political peace talks.
A Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue consisting of all members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly and the two members of Parliament was formed to give further impetus to the peace talks and help arrive at the final solution at the earliest, he said.
Rio stated that a core committee was constituted to ensure a focused approach in the State Government’s role as a facilitator. He said the core committee had appealed to the negotiating parties to move forward with a positive approach of mutual respect and set aside pre-conditions in the greater interest of the people’s cry for long term peace.
Rio also stated that all the members of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly have come together, irrespective of political party affiliations, on the Naga political issue and common peoples’ issues.
“Taking this spirit of collectiveness further in the recently concluded session of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, the members unanimously passed a resolution appealing to the negotiating parties on the same lines as resolved by the core committee,” he said.
On the Nagaland-Assam border issue, Rio said Nagaland has a long-standing inter-state border dispute with Assam. He said pro-active steps were taken along with the Assam Government to de-escalate the situation.
He added that a select committee of the Nagaland assembly has also been constituted to examine all aspects of the border issue.
Rio appreciated the civil society organisations, churches, village authorities and all citizens of the State for their excellent cooperation during the challenging times of unavoidable lockdowns and steps to protect the citizens of the State against Covid-19.
However, he reminded that “our conduct, behaviour and safety precautions will largely determine the level of impact in the event of any further future wave”.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns required to check the spread of infection have made us realise the importance of building the skills of our people and making them self-reliant to earn their livelihoods,” Rio said.
The government has, therefore, focused on strengthening agri and allied sector, skills and service sector and trade and commerce with the four key objectives of self-reliance, re-skilling, gainful employment and facilitation, he added.