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Border row dominates North East CMs meeting

Shillong, July 24: Interstate boundary dispute among the North-Eastern states topped the discussions between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Chief Ministers of the region on Saturday.

Apart from Assam’s boundary row with its regional neighbours, development, international borders, insurgency and the fight against drugs were the main issues discussed at length at the meeting that the Chief Secretaries and the Directors-General of Police of the North-Eastern states also attended.

Most of the CMs said the meeting was fruitful and loaded with suggestions for propelling the region as one. But Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, playing the host, and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga chose to be quiet on the boundary disputes with Assam. The Assam-Mizoram border has been tense for a few months now.

Sikkim Chief Minister, P.S. Golay said, “Our focus was mainly on development but there were issues such as border dispute and insurgency. I am very happy with the outcome of the meeting.” Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu termed the meeting as historic. While Assam CM Himanta Biswa refused comment when approached.

“For the first time, the government of India has boosted technology in the region through NESAC. The North East will transform under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

On the meeting between Shah and the CMs, Khandu said: “There are a lot of vexed issues in the North East for which the states involved cannot prosper. Most of them have issues of interstate border and drugs. Our officers will dwell more on these in detail tomorrow (Sunday).” Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said, “The discussions were pan-region as well as state-specific. We discussed the Naga political issue since talks are at an advanced stage and they should resume after a break of four-five months.”

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said, “We discussed the prevailing law and order situation and tourism projects. Issues of boundary and flood were also discussed and it was decided we should address them as one.”

He further said all the states decided to tackle the drug menace jointly as it has affected the entire region. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said the economy of the region got as much traction as connectivity in the meeting.

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