RN Ravi, the government’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks, was appointed the governor of Nagaland on Saturday. Nagaland was among the six states to get new governors.

Ravi retired as special director of the Intelligence Bureau in 2012, following which he was appointed chairperson of the Joint Intelligence Committee in 2014 for three years. He was the Centre’s interlocutor in 2015, when the government signed a framework agreement for a settlement of the Naga question with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah), the largest of the Naga armed groups.

The demand for a sovereign Naga homeland gave rise to militancy that goes back six decades. Over the decades, the Naga militancy splintered into several factions. With the agreement signed, the NSCN(IM) was believed to have dropped its demand for secession and agreed to a settlement within the bounds of the Indian Constitution. After the accord was signed, Ravi also drew six other Naga armed groups, now called Naga National Political Groups, into the talks. Ravi was instrumental in signing a second agreement with the working committee formed by these groups on November 17, 2017.

However, the talks appear to have reached a stalemate over the last year.

Unidentified government officials said Ravi’s responsibilities as interlocutor in the Nagaland will remain unchanged after being appointed governor.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said he hoped Ravi’s appointment as governor would send a good message to the people of the state, The Telegraph reported. “I look forward to working with him [Ravi] in our common endeavour to uplifting our people and bringing lasting peace,” Rio said on Twitter.

V Horam, executive member of the steering committee of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah), said the Centre could appoint any individual to be a governor of a state even if the person happened to be the interlocutor. Horam appreciated Ravi’s services in the Naga peace talks, the Morung Express reported.

Alezo Venuh, a co-ordinator in the ongoing political dialogue between Naga National Political Groups and the Centre, said Ravi’s appointment as governor came as a surprise. Venuh declined to comment further on the matter.