CMs of Nagaland, Assam agree on oil exploration in disputed areas

The chief ministers of Assam and Nagaland held talks on the settlement of border disputes and agreed in-principle on oil exploration in the disputed areas for economic benefit.

The boundary problem between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh was resolved following the signing of an MoU by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Arunachal Pradesh CM, Pema Khandu, in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday evening. Sarma also had a one-on-one discussion with his Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio at the Assam House late Thursday evening to resolve the long-standing border row between the two neighbouring states.

Both the chief ministers also discussed issues of mutual interests and collaboration on oil exploration along the inter-state border.

Later, Sarma tweeted, “Happy to have got an opportunity to spend time with Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland @Neiphiu_Rio Ji at Assam House, New Delhi. We had an engaging discussion on bringing closure to the ongoing boundary issue and other areas of mutual gains and collaboration.” Rio told mediapersons that he had a fruitful discussion with his Assam counterpart on the settlement of the border dispute out of court with the cooperation of ethnic groups from both sides.

“We have discussed our border issue and development issues because we have to work together, support one another and know how to go forward. Assam and Arunachal Pradesh signed an agreement on the border dispute on Friday. Likewise, we are discussing how we should settle our border dispute outside court with the (support of) ethnic groups from both sides,” quipped Rio. Rio disclosed that both states have in-principle decided to go in for an MoU for oil exploration in the disputed areas along the inter-state boundary so that oil can be extracted and royalties shared between the states. “Once it is formalised, there is huge potential for exploration of oil inside Nagaland also. The country needs oil in a big way,” he added.

Sarma said, “We will resolve the remaining areas of dispute with Meghalaya. The process of resolving the border dispute with Mizoram has started. With Nagaland, we had talks as owing to the border dispute we are not able to do oil exploration in the border areas. We have decided to get the dispute with Nagaland settled in court.”

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