Assam Meghalaya border

Guwahati, May 25: Assam and Meghalaya have resumed chief ministers’ level talks to address the long-standing border disputes in six remaining contested zones. The dialogue was briefly suspended due to the Meghalaya state polls held in February-March.

In a joint media briefing following the meeting, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart, Conrad Sangma, announced their plans to visit the disputed areas in late June as a confidence-building exercise.

The chief ministers expressed their optimism about resolving the differences through discussions and mutual trust. Sarma emphasized that there was no specific timeframe for the resolution, acknowledging the complexity of the issues involved. He mentioned that both chief ministers would meet again in July to review the progress made.

Sangma echoed Sarma’s sentiments and emphasized the importance of finding a solution to the six areas. He mentioned the involvement of regional committees in the fact-finding process, which would engage with all stakeholders. Despite the challenges, Sangma expressed confidence in finding a way forward, guided by trust and friendship.

Also Read: Symbolic ‘Sengol’ Sceptre to Find Place of Honor in New Parliament Building

As a confidence-building measure, both chief ministers announced their plan to visit Karbi Anglong and West Jaintia Hills areas in June, where there has been some unrest. The aim is to assure people on both sides that the differences will be resolved with a spirit of long-existing friendship between Assam and Meghalaya.

Sarma and Sangma reiterated the need for maintaining peace during the resolution process. They mentioned that the Survey of India would continue its survey work in the first six resolved areas to demarcate the new boundary between the two states.

The border disputes between Assam and Meghalaya have been ongoing since Meghalaya became a separate state in 1972. In May 2021, Sarma, upon assuming office, prioritized resolving these disputes with neighboring states.

Regional committees were established to address the issues in a phased manner. Recommendations from the committees were submitted to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, leading to the signing of a memorandum of understanding on March 29, 2022, to resolve disputes in six of the 12 areas.

The agreement stipulated the settlement of 36.79 sq km of disputed land in the first phase, with Assam gaining control over 18.51 sq km and Meghalaya over 18.28 sq km.

The ongoing dialogue between Assam and Meghalaya signifies a positive step towards resolving the border disputes and fostering peaceful coexistence between the two states. The commitment of both chief ministers and the involvement of regional committees and central authorities indicate a sincere effort to find a mutually acceptable solution.