Guwahati: In a bid to resolve the seven-decade-old inter-state border dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the chief ministers of the two states on Friday signed an agreement at Namsai.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu agreed to restrict the number of contested villages to 86 instead of 123.

“We have decided to restrict the ‘disputed villages’ to 86 instead of 123. Based on our present boundary, we’ll try to resolve the rest by September 15, 2022,” Sarma tweeted after meeting Khandu.

They also decided to form 12 regional committees headed by Cabinet ministers to find an amicable solution to the disputed villages along the border.

In the Friday meeting, both Sarma and Khandu agreed in principle with regard to 37 disputed villages.

While Arunachal Pradesh will retain the 28 villages within its constitutional boundary, the state has withdrawn its claim over three villages in Assam. 

“Both states would constitute 12 Regional Committees each covering the 12 districts of Arunachal and counterpart districts of Assam for joint verification of 123 villages to make recommendations to respective State Governments,” Khandu tweeted.

These regional committees would submit their first tranche of the report on the areas or any other areas where consensus has arrived, before September 15.

Calling it the “Namsai declaration”, as the meeting was held at Namasai in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam chief minister Sarma said that both the states have decided to find an amicable solution to the seven decades old border dispute within this year.

“As and when the regional committees will conclude their deliberations and agreement is arrived at between the two governments, the draft MoU will be referred to the union government for its approval,” the Namsai Declaration stated.

The Assam side apart from the Chief Minister was represented by members of Assam Cabinet Atul Bora, Ashok Singhal, Pijush Hazarika, Bimal Bora, Sanjay Kisan, MP Pradan Baruah, MLA Bolin Chetia and Taranga Gogoi. 

While the Arunachal Pradesh side was represented by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and a host of ministers.

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