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Assam-Arunachal Pradesh Border Dispute: SSB Interview Lecturette Topic 2023

On Thursday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to resolve the two states’ long-standing border issue, which...

On Thursday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to resolve the two states’ long-standing border issue, which Home Minister Amit Shah termed a “historic occasion.” The two states share an 800-kilometer border, and the disputed regions covered by the MoU are 123 border villages spread across 12 districts in Arunachal Pradesh and eight districts in Assam.

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Assam – Arunachal Pradesh Border Dispute

Why In The News?

  • Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma And Arunachal Pradesh CM Prema Khandu Signed A MoU In The Presence Of Home Minister Amit Shah To Settle The Decades-Old Interstate Boundary Dispute Between The Two States.
  • The Two States Share A Roughly 800-kilometre Long Border And The Disputed Areas The MoU Deals With Are 123 Border Villages, Which Span 12 Districts Of Arunachal Pradesh And 8 Districts Of Assam.
Amit Shah with Assam CM and Arunachal Pradesh CM

Tracing The Origin Of Dispute

  • Before Northeast Frontier Agency Or NEFA (Now Arunachal Pradesh) Was Carved Out Of Assam In 1954, A Sub-committee Headed By Then Assam CM Gopinath Bardoloi Had Made A Set Of Recommendations About The Administration Of NEFA And Submitted A Report In 1951.
  • As Per The Recommendation Of The Report Around 3,648 Sq Kilometres Of The “Plain” Area Of Balipara And Sadiya Foothills Were Transferred From NEFA To Assam’s Then Darrang And Lakhimpur Districts.
  • When Arunachal Was Made A Union Territory In 1972, It Was Contended That Several Forested Tracts In The Plains That Had Traditionally Belonged To Hill Tribal Chiefs And Communities Were Unilaterally Transferred To Assam.

Past Efforts To Resolve The Issue

  • In April 1979, A High-powered Tripartite Committee Was Constituted To Delineate The Boundary based on The Survey Of India Maps, As Well As Discussions With Both Sides.
  • While Around 489 Km Of The 800 Km Were Demarcated By 1983-84, Further Demarcation Could Not Take Place Because Arunachal Did Not Accept The Recommendations And Claimed Several Kilometres Of The 3,648 Sq Km, Which Was Transferred To Assam In Line With The 1951 Report.
  • Assam Objected To This And Filed A Case In The Supreme Court In 1989, Highlighting An “Encroachment” Made By Arunachal Pradesh. To Resolve The Dispute Between The States, The Apex Court Appointed A Local Boundary Commission In 2006, Headed By A Retired SC Judge.
  • In September 2014, The Local Commission Submitted Its Report. Several Recommendations Were Made And It Was Suggested That Both States Should Arrive At A Consensus Through Discussions. However, Nothing Came Of It.

Path Leading Up To This MoU

  • Assam CM Sarma And Arunachal CM Khandu Commenced CM-level Talks Over This Border Issue On January 24, 2022. In Their Second Meeting On April 20, 2022, They Made Some Key Decisions.
  • The First Was That The Border Issues Between Both States Would Be Confined To A List Of 123 Villages That Arunachal Pradesh Had Claimed Before The Local Commission In 2007.
  • The Second Was That A Boundary Line Delineated By The High-Powered Tripartite Committee In 1980 Would Be Taken As The Notified Boundary And All Realignment Would Be Done About It.
  • The Third Decision Laid Down How This Resolution Would Take Place. It Was Decided That Both States Would Set Up 12 Regional Committees Covering The 12 Districts Of Arunachal Pradesh And The 8 Counterpart Districts Of Assam For Joint Verification Of The 123 Villages.
  • The Committees Were To Make Recommendations Keeping In View “Historical Perspective, Administrative Convenience, Contiguity, And People’s Will”.
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Has The Issue Been Truly Resolved?

  • The Dispute Over 37 Of These 123 Villages Had Been Resolved On July 15, 2022, With The Signing Of The Namsai Declaration Between Both CMs, Where They “Agreed In Principle” Over Them. This Effectively Reduced The Number Of Disputes To Be Resolved To 86.
  • Through The MoU, The Dispute Over Another 34 Villages Has Been “Amicably Resolved”. Of The 71 Villages Over Which An Understanding Has Been Reached.
  • The Village Boundaries Of 49 Of The Remaining Villages Are Unresolved, And The MoU States That In These The Regional Committees Will Finalize The Boundaries Within A Period Of Six Months “Through Continuous Dialogue”.
  • Both States Agree That No New Claim Area Or Village Will Be Added In The Future Beyond These 123 Villages. Both The State Governments “Agree To Effectively Prevent Any New Encroachment In The Border Areas” And They Agree That The MoU Is “Full And Final” In Respect To The 123 Villages.

Other Indian States Having Border Issues

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