In a significant development, Assam and Mizoram have mutually decided to address the persistent inter-state border conflict dating back to the colonial era.
On Friday, Assam’s Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, extended a warm invitation to Mizoram’s Chief Minister, Lalduhoma, who was in Guwahati, for a collaborative discussion over a meal.
During their meeting, the two leaders delved into the intricacies of the border issue, expressing a joint commitment to finding a resolution and fostering peace along the shared borders, as highlighted in their official joint statement.
Roots of the Border Dispute
The Mizoram-Assam border dispute traces its origins to two colonial-era delineations. Mizoram contends that a 509-square-mile section of the inner line reserved forest, demarcated in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), rightfully belongs to its territory. Conversely, Assam adheres to the constitutional boundaries outlined in a 1933 map by the Survey of India.
Presently, considerable portions of the inner line reserved forest fall under Assam’s jurisdiction, while some areas designated in the 1933 demarcation are under Mizoram’s administration.
Steps Towards Resolution
The tensions reached a peak in July 2021 when police forces from both states clashed at the inter-state boundary, resulting in the tragic deaths of six Assam policemen and one civilian.
In their recent meeting, Sarma and Lalduhoma expressed a collective commitment to collaboratively seek an amicable solution. Sarma assured Lalduhoma that post the ongoing budget session of the Assam assembly, the designated minister responsible for border affairs would be sent to Mizoram.
Positive Developments and Collaboration
Sharing snapshots from their discussions, Sarma’s office conveyed that the meeting also addressed a range of developmental issues. Lalduhoma, in response, described it as “a wonderful display of camaraderie and collaboration between states.”
During his visit to Guwahati, Lalduhoma actively participated in various activities, including the 3rd Edition of MOMENTUM North East – 2024. Additionally, he inaugurated the Computing and Skilling Facility of E&ICT Academy at IIT Guwahati.
This collaborative effort signifies a positive stride towards resolving a historical border dispute, fostering cooperation, and addressing shared developmental goals between Assam and Mizoram.