India to play role in Myanmar ethnic peace process


The former Chief Minister of the Mizoram State of India Pu Zoramthanga meets with Myanmar Peace Center officials in Yangon in January 2015. Photo: Myanmar Peace Center

As Myanmar gears up to host a visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May, New Delhi looks set to play an official role in talks between Nay Pyi Taw and the ethnic armed groups, reports the Indian Express on March 9.

Peace envoy and former Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga told the newspaper that India has agreed to facilitate visits by Myanmar’s rebel leaders to India to study the processes that led to the Mizo Accord of 1986, often hailed as one of the most successful peace deals between a government and an armed insurgency.

The former rebel leader and current head of the Mizo National Front, which waged a two decade insurgency for an independent country for ethnic Zos, said he found that both sides really wanted to have peace but were unable to find a way towards it.

As he has been quoted as saying, “they are like an aged bachelor and spinster who really want to marry but just do not know how to set the ball rolling,” stressing the two sides appeared not to know how to achieve lasting peace in spite of years of negotiations and often failed ceasefires.

Mr Zoramthanga has travelled to Thailand and Myanmar twice this year to meet both Minister U Aung Min, who is in charge of Myanmar’s efforts to establish peace with some 16 ethnic armies, and Lieutenant-General N’ban La, chairman of the United Nationalities Federation Council or UNFC, a grouping of ethnic armies who have fought for autonomy, and earlier independence, since the late 1940s, as well as other senior leaders from both camps.

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