After several rounds of talks regarding inter-state boundary issues, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh successfully reached a resolution, following the preparation of draft reports by 12 regional committees of Assam, on April 17, 2023.
The final report was presented in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on April 18, 2023, in the presence of local MLAs, MPs, and District Administration Officials. The draft agreement has been forwarded to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh for perusal.
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam share an 804.1 km long boundary. Both states have disputed several claims on boundary and border issues that date back to colonial times. In 1972, when Arunachal Pradesh became a Union Territory, several forested tracts in the plains that traditionally belonged to hill chiefs and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam. These tracts comprised 123 disputed villages in the inter-state borders of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
After 1987, when Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood, a tripartite committee was appointed, which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh. However, Assam contested the recommendation and moved to the Supreme Court and the case had been pending since 1987.
The Namsai Declaration was brought forth with the intention of solving the long-standing border dispute between the two states. On July 15, 2022, of the 123 accounted villages, dispute over 37 villages was settled. The dispute over the remaining 86 villages will be the point of contention in an agreement that is to be signed by both parties in the coming week. It was decided that both states will constitute 12 regional committees each, covering 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and recommendations would be stated to the respective state governments, keeping in view the historical perspective, administrative convenience, contiguity, and people’s will to delineate the interstate boundary between Assam and Arunachal.
Atul Bora, Border Area Protection and Development Minister, Assam remarked that the agreement may not include a few villages due to technical reasons. Those reasons were not ascertained. He also added, “However, it cannot be said with certainty that the MoU will be the final solution to the dispute. The agreement has to be further agreed upon by the Supreme Court and the Parliament as per the constitutional provisions.”
The draft agreement will be signed by the Chief Ministers of the two states most likely in New Delhi in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Minister said.