The signing of the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh Inter-state Boundary Agreement involving a stretch of around 800 km Thursday adds another feather to Home Minister Amit Shah’s already decorated cap. The historic pact will not only ensure a long-due truce between the two neighbouring states; but will also act as a catalyst for further progress of the entire North East region, on course to regain its lost glory for some years now.
The pact, a brainchild of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, will permanently eliminate the scope for raising any future discord between the two states in matters relating to any area or village. The agreement, eighth in line signed in the North East in the last four years, is aimed at perpetuating peace and stability in the region which has enormous potential for economic development.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Shah, who is of the considered view that development cannot be achieved without the prevalence of peace. According to Shah, development requires cooperation and diligence and not agitation or disagreement.
Speaking on the occasion, Shah indicted previous governments for their inaction which otherwise would have brought such disputes to an end. However, Shah said that the Assam-Arunachal agreement would surely pave the way for the future development of the entire region.
Once a thriving business and economic centre, the North East region comprising Ashtalakshmi (the eight states) lost its lustre to agitation, ethnic conflict, unrest, militancy and separatism. Immediately after taking over in 2014, the current dispensation took upon itself the task of bringing in a lasting environment of peace, stability and prosperity in the region under its “Act East Policy”.
The Home Ministry took a three-pronged strategy to deal with the challenges. While the first was to preserve & promote the dialects, languages, dance, music, food and culture to draw the attention of the rest of the country; the second one was to put an end to all disputes in the region and make it a peaceful and stable region. The third strategy of the Modi 1.0 government was to make the North East a developed region.
Under the leadership of Amit Shah, the home ministry diligently worked towards promoting peace and stability in the region and enhancing the dignity, culture, language, literature and music of the region with a “Whole of government” approach. A victim of negligence and the step-motherly attitude of Delhi for a very long time, the North East has now started coming back to the mainstream of development, shunning violence and militancy.
The current dispensation has also taken several steps towards economic development in the area. Apart from enhancing budgetary support in a big way and taking up various North East-focused schemes, the government has also recently launched the Rs 4,800 crore Vibrant Village Programme (VVP) for the region. A whopping Rs 2.66 lakh crore has been spent on the infrastructure development programme. DoNER ministry’s budget has also been significantly increased.
Compared with 2014, incidences of violence have come down by 67% in 2022. During the same period, a casualty in security forces has decreased by 60, civilian deaths by 85% and a mind-boggling 8,000 militants have surrendered to come to the mainstream.
Accordingly, the periphery of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been largely reduced in the North East and the disturbed areas are now turning into aspiration zones. (ends)