Published on: July 23, 2021



Situation : Assam is facing a border dispute with Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, while Tripura and Mizoram too are facing similar issue for long.

Background :

  • The origin of the disputes regarding the borders dates back to the pre-Independence era and even till 1972 when Meghalaya and Mizoram were carved out of Assam.
  • Mizoram was first became a Union Territory and was made a full-fledged state in 1986.
  • Nagaland, which has been witnessing insurgency since the Independence, was granted statehood in 1963.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, which was known as North East Frontier Agency became a state in 1987, last among the ‘seven sisters’.

What are the demands:

  • Assam insists that the boundaries marked after Independence be maintained
  • Nagaland and Mizoram stress on “historical boundaries”

Reasons for NE Border Disputes :

  • The Northeast remained untouched during reorganisation of the states and the territories along linguistic lines, which, according to experts, made the situation more complex.
  • The disputes became acute due to conflicting claims over their border by the states and the Centre’s inability to convince the states to accept the boundaries.
  • In the northeast, Negrito, Australoid, Mediterranean, Mongoloid, Nordic, and Brachycephal ethnic groups are found. There is a diversity of art and culture in them. Thus, the main reason for separatism and border dispute is to preserve identity
  • Lack of developmental projects in these areas and this region is still not completely successful in connecting with the mainstream of society. Poverty and illiteracy prevail in these areas. In such a situation, protectionist concepts make them controversial.

Way forward:

  • According to Article 3 of the Constitution of India, the Parliament of India has the power to change the name and boundaries of states. It exhibits an inclination towards the center of Indian federalism. In the past, many time’s Parliament has made border changes in the Northeast intending to establish peace in the Northeast.
  • Keeping in mind the strategic importance of the Northeast and the welfare of the citizens there, other problems including border disputes must be resolved