Guwahati: Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to resolve their 50-year-old border dispute which covered 123 villages and nearly 800 km of the interstate boundary.
The MoU was signed by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal counterpart Pema Khandu in the presence of Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
“We have witnessed a historic moment in the Northeast and India today. The two states have resolved a border dispute that raged since 1972. I congratulate chief ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma, Pema Khandu, (Union minister) Kiren Rijiju and the people of Assam and Arunachal,” Shah said.
The two states had formed regional committees which visited the disputed sites, talked to the locals and took them into confidence as they resolved the problem, Shah said.
“We have today crossed an important milestone of (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji’s dream for a developed, peaceful and dispute-free Northeast,” the Union home minister said.
He highlighted various other agreements signed under the NDA such as the one for the resettlement of displaced Brus, Assam-Meghalaya border MoU and peace agreements signed with militant groups in Tripura and Assam’s Karbi Anglong and Bodoland Territorial Region. He said after the signing of the peace pacts, over 8,000 rebels abjured arms and joined the mainstream.
“There has been a 67% decrease in violent incidents and 60% decrease in the deaths of security personnel. Deaths of civilians (in violence) also dropped by 83%,” Shah said.
He said Meghalaya and Tripura were today completely free from the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
“AFSPA has been lifted from 70% areas of Assam, 15 police station areas in six districts of Manipur and seven districts of Nagaland. In Arunachal, it is enforced only in three districts,” he said.
Stating that Modi visited the Northeast more than 50 times since 2014 and gave importance to the region’s language, culture and literature, Shah said the PM played a key role in popularising Bihu and the Bihu dance globally.
Describing it as a “historic day”, the Assam CM said the Union home minister had called him and Khandu to Delhi in September last year and asked them to resolve the border dispute.
“The two of us met thrice. Subsequently, the regional committees were constituted by both states and they visited the villages. Today, we have solved almost the entire dispute,” Sarma said, adding, “I am hopeful that we will also be able to resolve our problem with Mizoram and Nagaland.”
Khandu was confident the agreement signed with Assam would develop the relationship between the people of the two states. (Courtesy: The New Indian Express)