GUWAHATI: To de-escalate tension, Assam and Nagaland on Saturday decided to withdraw their security personnel from their present locations at two disputed sites of the interstate border.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma described the move as "historic".
The decision was made at a meeting, held between the chief secretaries of the two states, in Nagaland’s Dimapur town. There was a standoff going on between the police forces of the two states at the two sites.
Assam's position has been that the two areas fall under its Dessoi Valley Reserve Forest in Jorhat district while Nagaland asserts that they are parts of its Tsurangkong valley in Mokokchung district.
A statement, signed jointly by the two chief secretaries, said both sides agreed that in order to maintain peace and tranquility in the areas, urgent and effective steps were required for defusing the standoff.
"In this regard, it is decided by both sides that the security personnel of both states shall simultaneously move back from their present locations to their respective base camps. The simultaneous withdrawal of the security personnel shall begin immediately and shall be completed in the next 24 hours as far as possible," the statement said.
According to the agreement, Nagaland and Assam will monitor the area by surveillance using UAV and satellite imagery in order to maintain status quo. The Superintendents of Police of Mokokchung and Jorhat shall ensure orderly withdrawal of their respective forces and shall be responsible for it in the instant case, the statement further said.
The Assam CM said it was a historic step and a major breakthrough towards de-escalating tension. He expressed gratitude to his Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio for working with Assam in restoring peace on the border.
"Assam is committed to ensuring peace along all its borders and strives for social and economic prosperity of the Northeast," Sarma tweeted.
Assam and Nagaland share a 512.1 km border and a case pertaining to their boundary disputes is pending in the Supreme Court. Assam also has border disputes with Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, apart from Nagaland and Mizoram.