Peace Accord: Union and Manipur Governments Sign Pact with UNLF

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December 3, 2023

Peace Accord: Union and Manipur Governments Sign Pact with UNLF

Manipur's oldest militant group UNLF signs peace pact with govt, Amit Shah  says 'historic milestone' : The Tribune India

Understanding the UNLF

  • Formation and Leadership: Founded in 1964 under Arembam Samarendra Singh, the UNLF, representing Manipur’s oldest valley-based insurgent group, boasted diverse leadership comprising Naga and Kuki leaders.
  • Activities and Status: With its armed wing, the Manipur People’s Army, formed in 1990, the UNLF has carried out multiple attacks against Indian security forces. Presently divided into two factions, it operates mainly in Manipur’s valley regions and certain Kuki-Zomi hill districts, with an estimated cadre strength of 400-500, facing operational challenges primarily in Myanmar.

Context of the Peace Agreement

  • Historical Significance: This landmark agreement holds immense significance as Meitei Extremist Organisations (VBIGs) historically refrained from engaging in peace negotiations with the Centre.
  • Past Instances: Smaller groups like UPPK, KCP, and Maoist Communist Group have waned in influence, although details about their agreement terms remain obscure. The UNLF’s internal dynamics, marked by factional splits in the mid-1990s and 2021, paved the way for negotiations, particularly with Khundongbam Pambei’s faction since 2020.

Landscape of Insurgent Groups

  • Broader Context: Operating amidst multiple Meitei insurgent groups, the UNLF stands among the seven banned by the Union government. However, factions within the UNLF, exemplified by NC Koireng’s opposition to peace talks, showcase internal divisions.
  • Previous Agreements: While a Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement was forged in 2008 with Kuki-Zomi insurgent groups, the Manipur government’s withdrawal from certain group agreements in 2022 raises concerns.


  • The peace pact with the UNLF signifies a pivotal stride in addressing Manipur’s enduring insurgency, signaling a shift in Meitei insurgent groups’ approach toward dialogue and potential reconciliation. Its success could lay the groundwork for subsequent peace-building endeavors in Manipur, fostering stability and catalyzing the region’s development.

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Peace Accord: Union and Manipur Governments Sign Pact with UNLF | Vaid ICS Institute