Union home minister Amit Shah flanked by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma (left) and his Arunachal counterpart Pema Khandu after signing the MoU in New Delhi on April 20

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh governments on April 20 signed a boundary agreement in New Delhi in the presence of union home minister Amit Shah ending 51-year border disputes along the boundaries of both Northeast states.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu at the North Block office of the ministry of home affairs.

Assam shares an 804 km long boundary with Arunachal Pradesh.

“Since 1972 to till date the border dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh could not be resolved. Nearly 800 km boundary dispute has been ended today,” Amit Shah said after the MoU was signed between the two states.

As per the agreement, out of 123 villages claimed by Arunachal Pradesh before the Local Commission in 2007, 71 have been amicably resolved so far.

This includes 37 villages resolved through the Namsai Declaration on July 15, 2022, and 34 villages through the MoU signed on April 20.

Out of these 71 villages, one village will be included in Assam from Arunachal Pradesh, 10 villages will continue in Assam, and 60 villages will be included in Arunachal Pradesh from Assam.

However, out of the remaining 52 villages, the village boundary of 49 villages to be finalized by the Regional Committees in the next six months, while three villages situated inside the IAF bombing range will require rehabilitation.

Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “The signing of an MoU between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh today to settle an inter-state boundary dispute will prove to be a milestone. This will bring peace and development to the Northeast region.”

“The border dispute was settled today by signing the MoU between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This is a historic movement for both states,” said Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu.

Though there was no dispute initially, over the years, the allegations of residents of one state encroaching on land on the other have led to disputes and violence. A suit on the issue has been pending in the Supreme Court since 1989.

In 2021, following the insistence of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, both states resolved to settle their border dispute out of court through talks.

In July last year, both states signed the Namsai Declaration, where it was agreed to bring down the number of disputed villages and resolve the boundary row by forming 12 committees, each headed by a cabinet minister, that visit disputed areas, take feedback from residents and submit reports to their respective governments.

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