In­dian govt weighs mea­sures to sep­a­rate the good from the bad at Myan­mar border

The Myanmar Times - - News - – The In­dian Ex­press

A GOV­ERN­MENT panel set up to study gaps on the In­dia-Myan­mar border may sug­gest not to re­strict free move­ment of In­dian and Myan­mar cit­i­zens within 16 km of the border as al­lowed be­fore, but will rec­om­mend strength­en­ing border se­cu­rity to pre­vent in­fil­tra­tion.

The move, of­fi­cials said, is a mea­sure to upgrade se­cu­rity amid the mass ex­o­dus of Ro­hingyas from Myan­mar, fol­low­ing tur­moil in Rakhine State of that coun­try.

The com­mit­tee headed by spe­cial sec­re­tary (in­ter­nal se­cu­rity) Rina Mi­tra re­cently vis­ited the four north-eastern states and is ex­pected to submit her rec­om­men­da­tion sug­gest­ing that In­di­ans go­ing and stay­ing in Myan­mar un­der the bi­lat­eral agree­ment may be al­lowed to stay for 72 hours, un­like 24 hours at present, said sources.

In­dia al­lows Myan­mar na­tion­als to stay for 72 hours with­out a visa, said of­fi­cials.

The Home Min­istry is ex­pected to call a meet­ing later this week with Chief Min­is­ters of Mi­zo­ram, Na­ga­land, Ma­nipur and Arunachal Pradesh to dis­cuss the border is­sue and Free Move­ment Regime (FMR).

The FMR per­mits the tribes re­sid­ing along the border to travel 16 km across the boundary with­out visas.

The panel headed by Mi­tra may also sug­gest a ver­i­fi­ca­tion of those liv­ing in the FMR zone us­ing Aad­haar to rule out mis­use by refugees.

“The MHA will pro­vide cen­tral forces and urge the states to beef up lo­cal po­lice and in­tel­li­gence for strength­en­ing border se­cu­rity,” said an of­fi­cial.

In 2016, 74 cases of in­fil­tra­tion along the border were re­ported as com­pared to 108 in 2015.

At present, As­sam Ri­fles is de­ployed on the 1,643 km border with Myan­mar which has no fences. Re­ports sug­gest that per­se­cuted Ro­hingyas are us­ing the border to sneak into In­dia. Ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates, there are nearly 40,000 Ro­hingyas spread all across In­dia, of whom 11,000 are in Jammu and Kash­mir.

The com­mit­tee was set up by Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh to ex­am­ine present rules adopted by the border states fol­low­ing re­ports of mil­i­tants ex­ploit­ing the FMR to smug­gle in arms, drugs, and fake In­dian cur­rency.

Of­fi­cials added that the FMR has been in place keep­ing in view the tra­di­tional so­cial re­la­tions among border peo­ple.

It helps gen­uine peo­ple liv­ing in close prox­im­ity of the border. “How­ever, it is mis­used by mil­i­tants and crim­i­nals who smug­gle weapons, nar­cotics, con­tra­band goods and fake In­dian cur­rency Notes,” he added.

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