Assam, Arunachal CMs agree to realign border based on 1960 papers

Both States have been involved in a dispute over 123 villages

July 15, 2022 07:35 pm | Updated 07:35 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sharma at the signing of the Namsai Declaration in Arunachal Pradesh on July 15, 2022.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sharma at the signing of the Namsai Declaration in Arunachal Pradesh on July 15, 2022. | Photo Credit: @himantabiswa

The boundary line shown on 29 toposheets by a high-powered committee in 1960 will be taken as the basis for the realignment of the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam boundary towards resolving decades of dispute.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu on Friday signed the Namsai Declaration for minimising the inter-State boundary dispute involving 123 villages. A list of these villages had been placed before a local commission by Arunachal Pradesh on December 26, 2007.

Namsai is the headquarters of Namsai district in southern Arunachal Pradesh.

“The boundary line delineated and signed on 29 toposheets by the High-Powered Tripartite Committee as notified boundary in 1960 would be taken as the basis for the realignment of boundary by both the States,” the declaration read.

Present-day Arunachal Pradesh, which attained Statehood in February 1987, used to be the North East Frontier Tract, administered by the Governor of Assam as an agent of the President of India. It was renamed North East Frontier Agency and brought under the Central government’s control in 1954.

According to the declaration, all border issues between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will be confined to those raised before the local commission in 2007.

12 verification committees

Following the model for resolving the Assam-Meghalaya boundary dispute, both the States decided to constitute 12 regional committees each covering the districts on either side of the boundary for joint verification of the 123 villages. These committees will make recommendations to the respective State government keeping in view the historical perspective, administrative convenience, contiguity and people’s will, to delineate the inter-State boundary.

The two Chief Ministers agreed in principle that 33 border villages should remain in Arunachal Pradesh and three in Assam although the final decision will be based on the recommendations of the regional committees. Arunachal Pradesh had withdrawn the claims on the three Assam villages in November 2010.

The regional committees have been given the August 15 deadline to submit their first tranche of report on the disputed villages and other areas where consensus has been arrived at. After the regional committees conclude their deliberations and an agreement is arrived at by the two governments, the draft memorandum of understanding will be referred to the Centre for the seal of approval.

The Centre had on March 29 stamped the boundary deal between Assam and Meghalaya on six of the 12 disputed sectors. The remaining six, deemed more complicated, would be taken up soon.

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