Even as efforts are on to diffuse tensions between Assam and Mizoram, the Centre is stepping in to sort out the border disputes among the other states in the northeastern region too.
Sources in the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) say the Centre has decided to be proactive in view of the coming elections in Manipur early next year. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, in an exclusive interview to Outlook, says that maintaining peace in his state and the entire region is a priority.
“What happened on Mizoram-Assam border is very unfortunate. There have been minor incidents earlier but never such a big one,” says Singh. According to the Manipur chief minister, the border disputes in the northeast can only be settled by the Centre. “Now the union home minister is involved, and the issue is being handled at the level of the ministry, I am sure the border dispute will be settled. The delineation of the borders will be done by the Centre. That is the only way to do it,” he says.
Assam shares boundaries with seven states including 204 km with Manipur. Singh says that Manipur doesn’t have any major dispute with Assam but acknowledges issues with Nagaland. Some of its tribes do have a history of conflict with Nagaland, and also over demand for Nagalim of Greater Nagaland.
Earlier this month, the Isaac-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) called for a 12-hour total shutdown in Naga areas of Manipur to protest against what it calls the “failure of the Centre” to fulfil the Framework Agreement (FA) signed with the Naga outfit in 2015.
When asked about why there is no ceasefire in the Nagalim area, Singh says the talks are on. “We are supporting a peaceful solution but without affecting the boundaries and status of the states,” he adds.