Assam and Nagaland have agreed to withdraw forces from border locations to maintain a peaceful atmosphere amid escalating tension in the Northeast region.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said on Saturday described the development as  "a major breakthrough towards de-escalating tensions at Assam-Nagaland border." In a tweet, the chief minister said that "the two Chief Secretaries have arrived at an understanding to immediately withdraw states' forces from border locations to their respective base camps."

"This is a historic step in our relations. My gratitude to HCM Sri @Neiphiu_Rio for working with #Assam in restoring peace on the border. Assam is committed to ensuring peace along all its borders & strives for social & economic prosperity of #NorthEast region," Himanta Biswa Sharma said in a tweet.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma agreed to withdraw their police forces and maintain a peaceful atmosphere on the border, Nagaland’s Deputy CM Y Patton said at a meeting with various organizations of the Tzurangkong area on Friday.

Patton said that the Nagaland police will withdraw from their outpost as and when its Assam counterpart does so.

Nagaland protested after the Assam Police allegedly tried to set up a camp close to Vikuto village under the Tzurangkong range in the Mokokchung district of Nagaland on June 29. The area is near Mariani in Assam's Jorhat district.

Patton, who holds the Home Department, conducted an aerial survey of the border during the day.

The Nagaland deputy CM's statement came days after a violent clash between the police forces of Assam and Mizoram in which seven people - six policemen and a civilian - were killed and over 50 people were injured.

In the past agreements between the two North-eastern states, both police forces had agreed to withdraw from the border areas, but Assam did not do it and has in fact increased its strength while Nagaland withdrew its forces, claimed Patton.

 "We will not make the mistake again,"  he said at the meeting held at Chungtiayimsen in Mokokchung district.

One should not test the patience of the Nagaland government or the Naga people, the deputy chief minister said.

Patton did not mention when Sarma and Rio decided to withdraw the forces from the border, but the two met twice in Guwahati and Shillong last week.

"Honoured to have received special visitors at my residence, Nagaland CM Sri @Neiphiu_Rio & Dy CM Sri @YanthungoPatton. I thank them for finding time to discuss a host of development projects of the two states,"  Sarma tweeted on July 23.

 Rio did not make any statement on the issue till now.

Patton urged the people not to take law into their own hands but to approach the state government and work together to solve the issue.

The deputy chief minister assured that the border issue is being taken up at the highest level for a peaceful resolution.

Assam and Nagaland share a 512.1 km long border.

Nagaland Director General of Police T John Longkumer, who accompanied the deputy CM, appreciated the Tzurangkong range people for not taking the matter into their own hands and worsening the situation.

He said that he has talked to his counterpart in Assam on the issue of withdrawing forces along the disputed area.

The border dispute between Assam and Nagaland began soon after Nagaland became a state in 1963. The Nagaland State Act of 1962 had defined the state's borders according to a 1925 notification when Naga Hills and Tuensang Area were integrated into a new administrative unit.    

Nagaland, however, did not accept the boundary delineation and demanded that the new state should also have all Naga-dominated areas in the North Cachar and Nagaon districts of Assam.

Major clashes on the inter-state border took place several times since 1965.
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