Towards a resolution of the Arunachal-Assam border dispute

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The governments of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have decided to form district-level committees for resolving boundary disputes.

What is the Assam-Arunachal border dispute?
Source: Arunachal24

Arunachal Pradesh shares a boundary of roughly 800 km with Assam.

The dispute between these two states dates back to 1873 when the British announced the “inner line” regulation demarcating an imaginary boundary between plains and the frontier hills which were later designated as the North-East Frontier Tracts in 1915. 

Assam-Arunachal border dispute post-Independence

After Independence, the Assam government assumed administrative jurisdiction over the North East Frontier Tracts which later became the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1954 and finally, the Union Territory(UT) of Arunachal Pradesh in 1972. It gained statehood in 1987.

However, before Arunachal Pradesh was carved out of Assam, a subcommittee headed by then Assam chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi made some recommendations in relation to the administration of NEFA (under Assam) and submitted a report in 1951. 

Based on the Bordoloi committee report, around 3,648 sq km of the “plain” area of Balipara and Sadiya foothills was transferred from Arunachal Pradesh (then NEFA) to Assam’s then Darrang and Lakhimpur districts.

This transfer remains the bone of contention between the two states as Arunachal Pradesh claims the transfer was done without consulting its tribes who had customary rights over these lands.

What steps are being taken now to resolve the Assam Arunachal border dispute?

Earlier, efforts were made to resolve the Assam Arunachal border dispute. But it did not work out. Now the two States have decided to form 12 committees involving the districts sharing the boundary in order to come up with a solution.

Source: This post is based on the article Towards a resolution of the Arunachal-Assam border disputepublished in The Hindu on 25th April 2022

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