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Assam-Meghalaya Border Dispute



The Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, with the Union Home Minister in attendance, signed an agreement to settle the boundary dispute between their states.


  • In 1970, Meghalaya gained independence from Assam and officially became a full-fledged state in 1972.
  • The formation of Meghalaya was facilitated by the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969.
  • However, the Meghalaya government rejected the Act because it relied on recommendations from a 1951 committee tasked with defining Meghalaya’s boundaries.
  • The committee suggested transferring regions, including parts of today’s East Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi, and West Khasi Hills districts, to Assam’s Karbi Anglong, Kamrup (metro), and Kamrup districts.
  • Meghalaya contested these transfers after gaining statehood, arguing that these areas historically belonged to tribal chieftains in Meghalaya.
  • Assam countered by claiming that Meghalaya failed to provide sufficient documents or archival evidence supporting its ownership of these regions.
  • The dispute narrowed down to 12 specific sectors following an official claim by Meghalaya in 2011.

Dispute Resolution

  • In January 2021, the Union Home Minister encouraged the northeastern States to settle their boundary conflicts by 15 August 2022, coinciding with the 75th Independence Day celebrations.
  • By June 2021, Assam and Meghalaya got back to the negotiating table, agreeing to a “give-and-take” approach to resolve their disputes.
  • The focus in the first phase of negotiations was on six disputed areas: Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilingkata, and Ratacherra.
  • To address the concerns in the disputed sectors, the States established regional committees, each headed by a cabinet minister. These committees conducted surveys and engaged with stakeholders, guided by five key principles:
    a. Historical facts
    b. Ethnic considerations
    c. Administrative convenience
    d. Willingness of the people
    e. Contiguity of land with natural boundaries like rivers, streams, and rocks.
  • Based on the committee’s recommendations, a draft resolution was signed by the two states in January 2022.
  • On 29 March 2022, an agreement was officially signed, bringing resolution and understanding to the six previously disputed sectors.


  • Assam and Meghalaya have reached an agreement on the disputed region, with Assam getting 18.51 sq. km and Meghalaya receiving the remaining 18.28 sq. km.
  • However, there is uncertainty about how the uninhabited areas will be divided, leading to dissatisfaction among political parties and some communities in Meghalaya.
  • Specifically, residents of Langpih, Borduar, Nongwah, Matamur, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, and Khanduli, the six disputed areas, are concerned about the potential negative impact on their interests.
  • Non-tribal communities express unhappiness, fearing they might end up in a “tribal Meghalaya” with limited rights.
  • Similar concerns are shared by residents of Assam in disputed areas along the border with other states. They worry about the potential implications of the agreement on their rights and interests.


A groundbreaking agreement between Assam and Meghalaya is anticipated to not only address concerns in the Assam-Meghalaya boundary but also pave the way for resolving differences between Assam and other North-Eastern states. This historic deal marks a significant step forward in fostering regional harmony and cooperation.

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