For quite some time now, there has been an effort to settle India's Naga conflict. Instead of ordering the developments in the conventional teleological narrative of a peace process, this article looks at certain facts on the ground created by the two-decades-old cease-fire and the negotiations that have gone on for almost as long. Dismantling these transitional structures will not be easy. This existing regime of “shared sovereignty”—to use a key phrase from the negotiations as a category of practice—is based on a form of informal partnership between state and nonstate armed entities. It serves to provide the kind of protection ideally suited for economic transactions associated with the so-called informal sector economy in the region. There are affinities between this emergent order and the indirect rule regime of the British colonial era.

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