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Assam to resolve border disputes with Arunachal Pradesh

English NewsAssam to resolve border disputes with Arunachal Pradesh

A week after signing an agreement with Meghalaya to address border disputes, the Assam government will now commence discussions with Arunachal Pradesh to resolve the tussle along the interstate boundary. Last month, chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya inked a deal in New Delhi in the presence of Union home minister Amit Shah to resolve six out of the 12 points of dispute along their border.”The AssamMeghalaya issue has progressed very well. Now, we are trying to resolve our border dispute with Arunachal Pradesh,” Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday.” We expect to have discussions on the subject in Guwahati on April 18 with Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu. We are trying to considerably bring down the areas of dispute between us,” he added. Assam shares an 804-km long boundary with Arunachal Pradesh. Though there was no dispute initially, over the years allegations of residents of one state encroaching upon land on the other side have caused disputes and violence. A suit on the issue is pending in the Supreme Court since 1989. Last year, following insistence of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union home minister, both states resolved to settle their border feud through talks outside court. In January this year, both chief ministers met and initiated preliminary talks of sorting out the decades old dispute. The border dispute between the two states traces back to 1873 when the British started the inner-line regulation, creating an imaginary boundary between the plains and hilly areas north of Assam. This area, ‘separated’ from Assam, was initially called the North East Frontier Tracts, and later the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). It was under the administrative jurisdiction of Assam after Independence. In 1972, NEFA was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh and thus granted status of Union Territory; it became a full-fledged state in 1987. But before it got its present boundaries, a committee headed by former Assam chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi transferred around 3650 sq kms of territory, which was earlier with NEFA, to Assam. This transfer, done without consultations with the people or NEFA administration, is the bone of contention between the two states as Arunachal Pradesh refuses to recognize it. The agreement between Assam and Meghalaya, which favours a give and take formula to sort out differences, was formulated after both states created several committees comprising ministers, visited the disputed areas and interacted with residents. The same criteria could be followed with Arunachal Pradesh as well. Besides Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, Assam has border disputes with Mizoram and Nagaland, the other states that were carved out of it.

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