CMs Sarma, Pema Khandu Sign ‘Historic’ Namsai Pact in Step to Resolve Dispute

After four months of signing the agreement between Assam and Meghalaya on interstate border disputes, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday signed another such agreement with his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu. In Namsai, bordering Assam in Arunachal, both chief ministers signed the agreement in presence of all regional level committees of both states.

Khandu held a meeting with Sarma over seven decades of the border issue between the two states and signed the agreement called ‘Namsai Declaration’.

After signing the agreement, Khandu said the dispute has been going on for 70 years now but under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Amit Shah, they have been advised to resolve it across the table.

Sarma said, “It has been decided that a report on the same is to be submitted by September 15. All districts have been informed to maintain unity, law and order. No committee will go to these districts alone, committees of both states will go together.”

“This Namsai declaration will be sent to the Indian government for further action. In case a concrete resolution comes from any village before September 15, we will send that too. An interim pact can be signed to hold talks in case some dispute remains,” Sarma added.

The Assam CM also said the border dispute between the two states has now been reduced or restricted. “Only 86 villages have a dispute now, not 123 villages… this is historic,” he added.

“These regional committees will have nine points of reference… talk to people, civil society and go to every village to resolve the dispute. Assam and Arunachal Pradesh governments have notified 12 committees and 96 people of these committees are present at the meeting,” Sarma said.

Sarma also said until the issue gets resolved, development activities, school, education, health, road construction and the agreed status quo will continue.

This was the third meeting between both the CMs towards resolving the border dispute between the two states. In the last meeting, it was decided that the state governments will form regional-level committees led by cabinet ministers to resolve the seven decades-old boundary issue.

Earlier in May, Shah said the border dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh was expected to be resolved by 2023. “Over 60 per cent interstate border disputes between Meghalaya and Assam have been resolved. We hope that Arunachal Pradesh and Assam interstate border dispute will be resolved before 2023,” Shah had said during the golden jubilee of Ramakrishna Mission School in Arunachal’s Tirap district.

Arunachal Pradesh separated from Assam to become a union territory first and became a state in 1987. The two northeastern states share a massive 804-km border. The issue is now pending in the Supreme Court.

On March 29, the CMs of Assam and Meghalaya signed an agreement in Shah’s presence to resolve part of their five-decades-old boundary dispute. Over the years, the border dispute has witnessed frequent flare-ups.

Shah called it a “historic day” and credited Prime Minister Modi for focusing on the peace process in the northeast, as well as its culture and development.

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