The chief secretary level meeting of the two states between Nagaland chief secretary J Alam and his Assam counterpart Jishnu Barua was held at Dimapur in Nagaland, where both states, which for several decades are locked in a tussle over the common boundary, agreed to withdraw their respective police forces from their present locations on the border to their respective base camps “simultaneously” within 24 hours.
The agreement was signed by the two chief secretaries in presence of Nagaland deputy chief minister Y Patton and Assam education minister Ranoj Pegu.
“Nagaland and Assam shall monitor the area by surveillance using UAV and satellite imagery with a view to maintaining the status quo. The Superintendents of Police of the districts of Mokokchung (Nagaland) and Jorhat (Assam) shall ensure orderly withdrawal of their respective forces and shall be responsible for it in the instant case,” the minute of the meeting states.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in a tweet said, “In a major breakthrough towards de-escalating tensions at Assam-Nagaland border, the two Chief Secretaries have arrived at an understanding to immediately withdraw states’ forces from border locations to their respective base camps. This is a historic step in our relations. My gratitude to HCM Sri @Neiphiu_Rio for working with #Assam in restoring peace on the border.”
In a major breakthrough towards de-escalating tensions at Assam-Nagaland border, the two Chief Secretaries have arr… https://t.co/BEUB0xOKZL
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) 1627724659000
Sarma added, “Assam is committed to ensuring peace along all its borders & strives for social & economic prosperity of #NorthEast region.”
An official spokesperson said that the meeting between the two chief secretaries was held “with a view to de-escalating the tense situation prevailing in two locations in the Dessoi Valley Reserved Forest and Tsurangkong valley due to stand-off between the armed police forces of Nagaland and Assam.”
“Both sides agreed that in order to maintain peace and tranquillity in the areas around Ao Senden village and Vikuto Village as they are known in Nagaland and known as Jankhona Nala / Nagajankha and Compartment No. 12 in Assam, urgent and effective steps are required for defusing the stand off between the security forces of Nagaland and Assam. In this regard, it is decided by both sides that the security personnel of both states shall simultaneously move back from their present locations to their respective base camps,” the minutes of the meeting states.
Assam and Nagaland share a 434 km-long border and border dispute between the two states is more than six decades old that is marked by frequent skirmishes and two major clash in in 1979 and in 1985, the last one being the worst that occurred at Merapani in which 41 people, including 28 Assam Police men were killed.
There have been several attempts by centre to resolve the issue between the states. Assam government in 1988 filed a civil suit in the Supreme Court and again in 1998 for identification of boundaries between the two states. In September 2006, a three-member local commission set up the apex court to identify the boundary submitted its report, but a final decision is yet to be made.