NEW DELHI, Oct 7 � In what may not go down well with the NSCN-IM leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to meet the Naga leaders and instead the Home Ministry has been told that negotiations will take place only at the level of the Central interlocutor RN Ravi, highly placed sources said.
The move by the Modi Government may come as a surprise because the NSCN leaders have as a convention, called on the Prime Ministers in the past. NSCN-IM top leaders Isak Chisi Swu and Th Muivah have sent feelers several times for a meeting with Modi. However, there has been no response from the Government to these feelers. The two NSCN-IM leaders were politely informed that they should hold talks with the Government of India�s interlocutor RN Ravi, who is also the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC).
In the past NSCN-IM leaders had met former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, HD Deve Gowda, IK Gujral and Dr Manmohan Singh. The meetings resulted partly because the NSCN-IM leaders insisted that they would hold peace talks only at the �highest level�.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh continued with the convention by meeting the NSCN-IM chairman and general secretary at the start of both his tenures.
In an apparent reflection of the current NDA government�s more hard-line stand on all security issues, there has been no decision so far on a meeting between the two NSCN-IM leaders and the Prime Minister. �There is an interlocutor in place and he is perfectly capable of handling the talks,� a source said.
An NSCN-IM delegation led by Swu and Muivah held a preliminary meeting with Ravi, a former Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau, on September 30. Since the meeting, other members of the NSCN-IM team have returned to Nagaland, while Swu and Muivah have stayed on in the capital.
It was not immediately clear when formal talks between the NSCN-IM and the NDA government would get under way.