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Assam and Nagaland broker peace at border; pull forces back to base camps

Taking a significant step towards de-escalating tensions at the Assam-Nagaland border, Chief Secretaries of the two states have arrived at an understanding to immediately withdraw states' forces from border locations to their respective base camps.

Assam and Nagaland arrive at border agreement-VPN
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Guwahati, First Published Jul 31, 2021, 4:51 PM IST
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Taking a significant step towards de-escalating tensions at the Assam-Nagaland border, Chief Secretaries of the two states have arrived at an understanding to immediately withdraw states' forces from border locations to their respective base camps.

The decision comes barely days after the Assam government beefed up security along its long-disputed boundary with Nagaland's Jorhat after the standoff with Mizoram in Cachar.

The border security was increased after Assam Police received intel that members of some rebel groups are active along the border since the July 26 clash in Cachar. 

According to the statement released on July 31, both states agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity in the areas around Ao Senden village and Vikuto village in Nagaland and Jankhona Nala and compartment number 12 in Assam.

Security personnel from both Assam and Nagaland would move back from camps set up inside the Dissoi Valley Reserve Forest to their respective base camps immediately, the order said, adding that this process would be completed within the next 24 hours.

In order to monitor the border and maintain the status quo there, surveillance would be undertaken using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and satellite imagery, said the statement signed jointly by Nagaland Chief Secretary J Alam and his Assam counterpart Jishnu Barua.

The agreement also saw consensus being arrived at the removal of huts constructed through encroaching upon forest area by some Naga villagers in front of the Assam camp.

The Nagaland-Assam Border dispute

Nagaland shares a 512-km border with Assam. Nagaland, the first state to break away from Assam after Naga insurgents resorted to violence, was founded as an autonomous state within Assam in 1957 and obtained full statehood in 1963.

Since then, an estimated 350 people have lost their lives along the Assam-Nagaland border. A majority of the victims have been from Assam. Border skirmishes have flared up time and again. In 2020, Assam residents protesting encroachment by Nagas into their territory imposed an economic blockade.

Nagaland and Assam have been at loggerheads for decades over a lack of proper border demarcation between the two states. For Assam, the border established in 1963 is the main border, while Nagaland goes by historical claims and respects the border which was established during the colonial period. 

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