Assam, Arunachal ink deal to end border dispute; Amit Shah calls it historic | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Assam, Arunachal ink deal to end border dispute; Amit Shah calls it historic

Apr 20, 2023 07:07 PM IST

In 2021, following the insistence of both Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah, both states had resolved to settle their border dispute out of court through talks

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh governments on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the national Capital in the presence of union home minister Amit Shah to resolve the long pending border dispute along the boundaries of both northeastern states.

Amit Shah with Assam CM and Arunachal Pradesh CM during signing of the boundary agreement. (PTI photo)
Amit Shah with Assam CM and Arunachal Pradesh CM during signing of the boundary agreement. (PTI photo)

The MoU was signed by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu in presence of union home minister Amit Shah and union minister for law and justice Kiren Rijiju, who represents Arunachal Pradesh in Lok Sabha.

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Also Read:Arunachal and Assam to sign MoU on border dispute: Minister

“We are witnessing a historic moment in India and northeast’s history. The border dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, which was going on since 1972 has been resolved permanently. It’s a big achievement and a milestone in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a peaceful, developed and dispute-free northeast,” said Shah.

He informed that since 2014, when Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government under PM Modi took charge in Centre, several peace deals have been signed with rebel outfits in the northeast and agreements to end border disputes between states in the region have taken place.

“More than 8,000 cadres of rebel outfits have surrendered arms and joined the mainstream. There has been nearly 66% decrease in incidents of violence since 2014, 70% reduction in deaths of security personnel and 83% decrease in deaths of civilians in violence. There has been significant reduction in areas under purview of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland,” said Shah.

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804-km long boundary. Though there was no dispute initially, over the years allegations of residents of one state encroaching land on the other have led to disputes and violence.

A suit has been pending in the Supreme Court since 1989 on the issue.

In 2021, following the insistence of both Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah, both states had resolved to settle their border dispute out of court through talks.

“There was dispute related to 123 border villages which were spread across almost the entire length of the 800-km boundary between the two states. The agreement will lead to permanent peace in our border. Arunachal Pradesh government had some land in Assam’s Jorhat town. At our request, they have agreed to give it to us,” Assam CM Sarma said.

He added that the MoU was signed on basis of a ‘give and take’ policy where Assam gave some disputed areas to Arunachal Pradesh and vice versa.

Sarma said that three things were taken into account to resolve the dispute—administrative convenience, ethnicity of residents residing in the disputed villages and will of the people.

According to Thursday’s deal, disputes in 71 of the 123 villages have been amicably resolved. Of these, 71 villages, one village from Arunachal Pradesh will get included in Assam, ten villages will continue to remain in Assam while 60 villages from Assam will be included in Arunachal Pradesh.

Of the remaining 52 villages, boundary of 49 villages will be finalised by the regional committees of both states in the next six months while residents of three villages situated inside an Indian Air Force (IAF) bombing range, located in the border between both states, will be rehabilitated.

“It’s a historic day for Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It will end the border dispute between both states which had been pending for more than 50 years. The border between our states is the longest among northeastern states. We have resolved our dispute based on the report of the Local Commission submitted in 2007,” Arunachal CM Khandu stated.

Besides Arunachal Pradesh, Assam has border disputes with Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram—states which were carved out of it.

Last year, Assam and Meghalaya inked a deal to resolve six of the 12 points of dispute along their border.

Efforts are underway to resolve all the remaining disputes through talks.

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