Amid objection from NE states, Centre to fence India-Myanmar border

"It has been decided to construct a fence along the entire 1,643 km India-Myanmar border. To facilitate better surveillance, a patrol track along the border will also be paved," said Amit Shah

Rihkhawdar (Myanmar) on the left and Zokhawdar (Mizoram, India) on the right bank of the Tio river (photo: Wikipedia)
Rihkhawdar (Myanmar) on the left and Zokhawdar (Mizoram, India) on the right bank of the Tio river (photo: Wikipedia)
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IANS

Amid objection from different northeastern states, including Mizoram and Nagaland, and many other organisations, the Centre on Tuesday, 6 February reiterated that the Indian government is committed to fence the entire 1,643 km-long India-Myanmar border.

Commenting on the development, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday, "It has been decided to construct a fence along the entire 1,643 km India-Myanmar border. To facilitate better surveillance, a patrol track along the border will also be paved."

Shah also said the Narendra Modi government is committed to building impenetrable borders.

“Out of the total border length, a 10 km stretch in Moreh, Manipur, has already been fenced. Also, two pilot projects of fencing through a Hybrid Surveillance System (HSS) are under execution.

"They will fence a stretch of 1 km each in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Additionally, fence works covering approx 20 km in Manipur have also been approved, the work for which will start soon," Shah said.

After the Mizoram government, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) has also opposed the Centre's move to fence the India-Mayanmar border and scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between the two countries.

The FMR allowed citizens residing close to both sides of the border to move 16 km into each other's territory without passport or visa,

The NSCN-IM said it is totally against boundary fencing "in our lands that violates our rights as one family".

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had said the decision of the Centre to fence the India-Myanmar border needs thorough discussion before implementation.

Rio said that if the fencing along the India-Myanmar border is urgently required, “we have to work out a formula on how to solve the issue for the people and prevent infiltration as well, because Nagaland is bordered by Myanmar, and on both sides there are Nagas".

Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma, hours after the Home Minister's first announcement in this regard on 20 January, had said in Aizawl that his government does not have the authority to stop the Centre from erecting border fencing along the India-Myanmar border and scrapping the FMR between the two countries, but it would oppose both the moves.

Lalduhoma had said that the border with Myanmar in Mizoram was "unilaterally imposed" by the British without consulting the people and the Mizo-Zo-Chin community people living on both sides of the border do not accept the boundary.

Mizoram’s most influential civil society body, Young Mizo Association, and more than a dozen organisations in Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur are vehemently opposing both the proposed fencing and the scrapping of FMR.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, however, had earlier thanked the Home Minister for his announcements, saying that these assurances are the biggest gifts for the people of the state.

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Published: 07 Feb 2024, 8:15 AM
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