US denies Senator-NSCN (IM) link

Morung Express News
Dimapur | December 9

A senior American diplomat has denied earlier reports of a link-up between United States Senator Barbara Boxer and the Naga underground outfit, NSCN (IM). Speaking exclusively to The Morung Express, visiting US Consul General in-charge of Eastern India, Henry V. Jardine admitted that the Indian Ambassador to the US had sought an explanation on reports that Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California displayed her open support for the NSCN (IM). Jardine told The Morung Express that the Senator herself had later flatly denied any such media reports that she had anything to do with the Nagaland issue. 

Mention may be made that media reports in India had fueled speculation linking Senator Boxer with the inauguration of the NSCN (IM) office in Washington and that she had delivered a speech at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Nagaland. 

Meanwhile, when queried on a certain Grace Collins, the registered US ‘Foreign Agent’ and ‘Honorary Ambassador’ of the NSCN (IM), Jardine said that the US government had in no way given any official recognition to her activities and that she was doing so in her own private capacity. In similar tune, Jardine also made it clear that what former President of US Jimmy Carter had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in his individual capacity and in no way does it express Washington’s position. Carter, it may be mentioned had asked the Prime Minister to push the peace dialogue with NSCN (IM) in order to bring about an acceptable solution, which would assure the rights of Naga people.

According to the US Consul General, Washington can at best support the on-going peace dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) and hope for a peaceful resolution acceptable to all parties. Describing the Naga issue as a very complex one, Jardine, on his first visit to Nagaland, dismissed suggestions that the United States could broker peace and instead remarked that the two sides are in the best position to address the issue.

On strategic interest of the US in the northeast region, Jardine maintained that Washington’s only concern right now was to “look at quality of life issues” ranging from public health, dispute resolution, disaster management etc. When informed of the Atlanta Summit under the initiative of the American Baptists to bring together the warring underground factions, the US Consul General said that any initiative for people’s mediation towards dispute resolution among the factions would have to come from the Nagas themselves. He did not, however, rule out individual one-on-one contacts and the involvement of private organizations in such dispute resolutions in the near future if approached.