Interstate River Water Dispute

Inter-State Boundary Disputes in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Interstate boundry disputes in India

The Union Home Ministry (MHA) has informed that 11 States and one Union Territory have boundary disputes between them.

Why in news?

  • There are disputes arising out of the demarcation of boundaries and claims and counterclaims over territories.
  • Occasional protests and incidents of violence are reported from some of the disputed border areas.

Major boundary disputes include:

[1] Karnataka-Maharashtra

  • The Belgaum district is arguably part of one of the biggest inter-state border disputes in India.
  • The district has a large Marathi and Kannada-speaking populations and has been at the centre of a dispute for a long time.
  • The area came under Karnataka in 1956 when states were reorganized and till then it was under the Bombay presidency.

[2] Assam-Mizoram

  • The border dispute between Assam and Mizoram is a legacy of two British-era notifications of 1875 and 1933, when Mizoram was called Lushai Hills, a district in Assam.
  • The 1875 notification differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar and the other demarcated boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
  • While Mizoram became a state only in 1987 following years of insurgency, it still insists on the boundary decided in 1875.
  • Assam, on the other hand, wants the boundary demarcated in 1986 (based on the 1933 notification).
  • In that case, entire Mizoram was part of Assam before the Independence,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on July 27.
  • Mizoram says the 1986 agreement is not acceptable as the Mizo civil society was not consulted at that time.

[3] Haryana-Himachal Pradesh

  • The Parwanoo region has had the spotlight over the border dispute between the two states.
  • It is next to the Panchkula district of Haryana and the state has claimed parts of the land in Himachal Pradesh as its own.

[4] Himachal Pradesh-Ladakh

  • Himachal and Ladakh lay claim to Sarchu, an area on the route between Leh and Manali.
  • It is considered a major point where travellers stop when travelling between the two cities.
  • Sarchu is in between Himachal’s Lahul and Spiti district and Leh district in Ladakh.

[5] Arunachal Pradesh-Assam

  • Arunachal’s grievance is that the re-organisation of North Eastern states unilaterally transferred several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities to Assam.
  • After Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal.
  • Assam contested this and the matter is before the Supreme Court.

[6] Meghalaya-Assam

  • The problem between Assam and Meghalaya started when the latter challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act of 1971, which gave Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills or present-day Karbi Anglong district to Assam.
  • Meghalaya contends that both these blocks formed part of the erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district when it was notified in 1835.
  • Meghalaya bases its case on survey maps of 1872 and 1929 and certain notifications of 1878 and 1951, while Assam wants to go by the rejected recommendations of the Churachand Committee.

[7] Assam-Nagaland

  • The longest-running border dispute in the North East is between Assam and Nagaland, which 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 (NHTA) were integrated into a new administrative unit.
  • Nagaland, however, does not accept the boundary delineation and has demanded that the new state should also have all Naga-dominated areas in North Cachar and Nagaon districts.
  • Since Nagaland did not accept its notified borders, tensions between Assam and Nagaland flared up soon after the latter was formed, resulting in the first border clashes in 1965.
  • This was followed by major clashes between the two states along the border in 1968, 1979, 1985, 2007, 2014 and 2021.


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