GUWAHATI: After preparing a "roadmap" towards resolving its boundary dispute with Meghalaya pending the Centre's approval of the same, Assam is set to initiate a similar process with Nagaland.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio told reporters in Kohima on Monday that the two states favoured an out-of-court settlement of their boundary dispute.
He said they would try to resolve the problem in consultations with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The process is likely to begin next month.
Rio’s statement comes a day after his meeting with Sarma in Guwahati. The two of them had also met in Jorhat in December last year where they discussed issues of mutual interest.
Sarma had tweeted about his latest “fruitful discussion” with Rio. He had stated that a discussion was held on issues of mutual interest, people’s welfare in both states and strengthening friendship.
Assam and Nagaland have been embroiled in a bitter border row for decades. They share a 512.1 km border and a case pertaining to the dispute is pending in the Supreme Court.
In July last year, they had withdrawn security personnel from two disputed sites to de-escalate tension. There was a standoff going on between the police forces.
Last month, the Assam CM had exuded confidence on the settlement of the state’s border disputes with Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. He had stated the state government would talk to various organisations and political parties before taking any decision.
Sarma had also said that the border talks with Mizoram had started recently while the dispute with Nagaland was pending in the Supreme Court. Assam has always favoured an out-of-court settlement of its disputes with the neighbours.
As regards the dispute with Meghalaya, the total area of dispute in the six locations taken up in the first phase is 36.79 sq km and reports suggest Meghalaya will get 18.28 sq km and Assam 18.51 sq km.
It remains to be seen how opposition parties and various organisations in both states react when the two governments make public their decisions on the six areas. They stand opposed to any give-and-take policy or their state being on the losing side.