PRESS STATEMENT, the 3rd May, 2023: On Oil Exploration in Nagaland/Nagalim


Ministry of Information and Publicity

Press Statement

Oking, the 3rd May, 2023

Ever since Nagaland state was created in 1963 the Government of India has been casting covetous eyes on Nagas’ mineral wealth as Nagaland state is endowed with variety of mineral deposits, particularly petroleum. But the sticking point is the unresolved political issue that is still hanging fire in the negotiating table for more than 25 (twenty five) years. Significantly, more than two decades back National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) had issued a standing order that no mineral wealth in Naga areas will be allowed for exploration and extraction until a political settlement is arrived at. This order still stands valid today. Therefore, no amount of justification in the name of mobilizing financial resources for development will stand to ride roughshod over the inalienable Naga people’s rights over their land resources.

Ironically, this oil issue has come at the time when the Government of India is showing no sincerity and commitment to respect the historical and political rights of the Naga people as enshrined in the historic Framework Agreement of August 3, 2015, and pulling the Indo-Naga political talks for more than 25 years on flimsy ground of negotiating on the non-negotiable issue of Naga National Flag and Constitution.

For over 70 (seventy) years, the Nagas have stood the test of time to defend the God given rights. No wonder the huge mineral wealth is a reflection of God’s gift for the Naga nation. The 600 (six hundred) million tonnes of oil and natural gas reserves is a blessed wealth of the Nagas and no authority will be given the liberty to exploit so long as the Government of India continues to handle the Naga political issue with flattering and betraying fashion. As much as the Government of India attached huge economic significance to the mineral wealth, particularly oil and natural gas of Nagaland, the same degree of political commitment should be demonstrated in a meaningful and credible manner as demanded by the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks.

The Nagas would not like to stand out as a laughing stock before the world when the Naga political issue after signing the Framework Agreement in 2015 is still made to look like a strange shambling figure. Thus, what belongs to the Naga people will not be allowed to be subjugated like we find during the era of colonialism. Priority has to be set in correct perspective. Until honorable political settlement between the Nagas and the Government of India is reached, no exploration of oil and natural gas in Naga territories in any form shall be allowed. This is the resolute stand of NSCN.