The Central Government will resume peace talks with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) on Friday, according to the chairman of the proscribed group, Arabinda Rajkhowa.
Rajkhowa told TOI that in a final push to conclude the long-awaited peace deal, an ULFA delagation led by him is in the national capital for discussions with key officials in the central government.
"We hope something concrete will come out soon, " he was quoted as saying by TOI.
The Modi government will also hold peace negotiations with the Naga insurgent group NSCN (IM) on August 21, in a significant move. Octogenrarian rebel leader Thuingaleng Muivah will be a part of the discussions with the representatives of the Centre.
In 2015, the Modi government had put pen to paper on a 'Framework Agreement' with the Naga rebels to bring an end to India's oldest insurgency.
However, the Naga peace process has been in the doldrums since then, following differences with the government over two core demands, that is, a separate flag and a constitution (Yehzabo).
The latest development comes amid the long-drawn ethnic clashes in Manipur which has now become a major headache for the BJP-led double-engine government in the northeast.
The Centre looks like being in a hurry to conclude negotiations with the two major rebel groups in the region with the 2024 Lok Sabha elections just eight months away.
It may be noted that earlier, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had indicated that an agreement could be signed with the pro-talk ULFA faction by May 2023. The delay in that is thought to be down to the violence in Manipur as the Union home ministry has had to be fully focused on tackling the issue.
The ULFA faction led by Rajkhowa joined the peace process more than a decade ago. However, Paresh Baruah, who leads a smaller faction called ULFA (Independent), has stayed away from the government's offer so far and insisted on the 'sovereignty' demand.