Assam, Arunachal to resolve border disputes this year

Itanagar: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu on Sunday said that they would start the process from April to resolve the long pending disputes along the 804 km inter-state border of the two states.

Sarma and Khandu on Sunday attended the 50 years celebration programme of Arunachal Pradesh and 36th statehood day at Naharlagun.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually addressed the event from Delhi and said that his government is working with full force to make Arunachal a major gateway to East Asia.

Sarma, while addressing the function, informed that Assam and Arunachal Pradesh governments would sit together from April to resolve border disputes. He hoped that the majority of border problems would be solved this year. “Border issues can only be solved amicably and through dialogue between all stakeholders,” he asserted.

The Assam Chief Minister requested Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who is a Lok Sabha Member from Arunachal, to work as a leader of team northeast so that the entire region can play a vital role in development of the country.

Saying that legendary musician of Assam, Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s songs have reflected the beauty of Arunachal and eulogised the bonhomie among the people of both states, Sarma recalled how Assamese stalwarts like Indira Miri, Annanda Prasad Borthakur made immense contributions for the social and educational development of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister echoed his Assam counterpart and thanked Sarma for initiating the process to resolve the inter-state border disputes.

Till 1972, Arunachal Pradesh was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and it was administered by the External Affairs Ministry with the Assam Governor acting as agent to the President of India.

On January 20, 1972, the state gained Union Territory status and was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh and it became a full-fledged state on February 20, 1987.

Meanwhile, the Assam Chief Minister and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K. Sangma recently met Union Home minister Amit Shah in Delhi and apprised him about the efforts being made to resolve six of the 12 inter-state border disputes between the two northeastern states.

Assam’s border dispute cases with Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are before the Supreme Court but there are no cases on the inter-state disputes with Meghalaya and Mizoram. Recently, Assam and Nagaland had signed an agreement to remove state forces from the disputed locations.

Sarma recently discussed an out-of-court settlement of the boundary disputes with Pema Khandu. The worst-ever violence along the Assam-Mizoram border on July 26 last year left six Assam Police personnel dead and nearly 100 civilians and security personnel of the two neighbouring states injured.

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