Assam, Arunachal Pradesh sign agreement to resolve decades-old border dispute
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of Assam, and Pema Khandu, the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, reached a deal on Friday to settle their long-running border dispute. Instead of 123, the two leaders decided to limit the number of disputed villages to 86. During the Friday meeting, Sarma and Khandu reached an agreement in principle on 37 contested villages.
Why does this story matter?
Pema Khandu stated on Twitter that the boundary dispute between the two states has existed for seven decades, but tragically, no previous administrations had the political will to overcome it. He also hailed the Narendra Modi administration for its assistance in resolving the matter. In March, Assam and Meghalaya similarly signed an agreement resolving their five-decade-old border dispute in six of the twelve locations
Official statement over the development
"We have decided to restrict the 'disputed villages' to 86 instead of 123. Based on our present boundary, we'll try to resolve the rest by September 15, 2022," Sarma tweeted after their meeting in Arunachal Pradesh's Namsai. Earlier, the two leaders agreed that any border concerns between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh would be limited to those submitted before the Local Commission in 2007.
Regional committees to submit their first report by Septermber 15
"As and when the regional committees will conclude their deliberations and agreement is arrived at between the two governments, the draft MoU will be referred to the union government for its approval," the Namsai Declaration stated. Before September 15, these regional committees would submit the first portion of their report on the areas (or any additional areas) where consensus has been reached.
Final agreement to be based on reports from regional committees
Both states will constitute 12 Regional Committees, one for each of Arunachal Pradesh's 12 districts and Assam's equivalent districts, to conduct joint verification of 123 disputed villages and send their recommendations to the respective state governments. While Arunachal Pradesh will keep the 28 villages inside its constitutional boundaries, the state has dropped its claim to three Assam villages as per the latest agreement.
Several border disputes recently resolved in northeast
The agreement also stipulated that six additional villages that could not be found on the Assam side would remain within the boundary state if they exist in Arunachal Pradesh. Notably, several border state disputes have recently been resolved in the northeast, such as the 2020 Bru Reang Agreement, the historic Bodo Accord, 2021's Karbi Anglong agreement, etc.
Who were the representatives of the state government?
In addition to the Chief Minister, Atul Bora, Ashok Singhal, Pijush Hazarika, Bimal Bora, Sanjay Kisan, MP Pradan Baruah, MLA Bolin Chetia, and Taranga Gogoi represented the Assam government. The Arunachal Pradesh side was headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, and a large number of ministers. The agreement is being considered a watershed development in the region's recent history.