India To Scrap Free Movement Regime On India-Myanmar Border: Report

Mizoram shares a 510-km-long porous border with Myanmar. (Representational)

New Delhi:

The Free Movement Regime (FMR), which allows people residing close to the India-Myanmar border to venture 16 km into each other’s territory without visa, will be ended soon, a senior government functionary said on Tuesday.

The 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border, which passes through Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, currently has FMR. It was implemented in 2018 as part of India’s Act East policy.

Under the FMR, every member of the hill tribes, who is either a citizen of India or a citizen of Myanmar and who is resident of any area within 16 km on either side of border can cross over on production of a border pass with one year validity and can stay up to two weeks per visit.

“We are going to end the FMR along the Indo-Myanmar border soon. We are going to put fencing along the entire border. The fencing will be completed in next four-and-a-half years. Anyone coming through will have to…get a visa,” the functionary said.

The idea is to not only to stop the misuse of FMR, which is used by insurgent groups to carry out attacks on Indian side and flee towards Myanmar, but also put a halt to influx of illegal immigrants, and paralyse drugs and gold smuggling networks.

Tendering for an advanced smart fencing system for 300 km of the India-Myanmar border is already in pipeline and the work will be started very soon.

It may be mentioned that Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had urged the Centre in September 2023 to end the FMR. The state government has argued that insurgents use the free movement regime to further their activities.

Manipur shares around 390 km of porous border with Myanmar and only about 10 km has been fenced so far. In July last year, the state government shared data that around 700 illegal immigrants entered the state.

Besides, Mizoram has seen an influx of anti-Junta rebels in thousands since the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021. According to government estimates, several thousand refugees are living in different parts of Mizoram since the coup.

Mizoram shares a 510-km-long porous border with Myanmar.

The Manipur chief minister had also said that several persons from Myanmar tried to enter into his state but returned on seeing the presence of a large number of security personnel. Manipur shares a 398-km border with Myanmar.

Arunachal Pradesh shares a 520-km border with Myanmar while Nagaland shares a 215-km border with the country. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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