The erection of an insurmountable fence along an eight km long stretch of the Manipur-Myanmar border is progressing satisfactorily.

Disclosing this to journalists here on Monday, Major General C.A. Krishanan, Inspector General of Assam Rifles (South), said the work would be completed on schedule. The fence, once completed, will help State and security forces to check the free movement of rebels and their new recruits to their base camps on no man's land.

Maj. Gen. Krishanan said both India and Myanmar had reached an understanding to flush out the rebels from such camps. There were regular flag meetings between the Army officers. Intelligence inputs and other vital information to combat insurgency were shared. The Border Security Force had been replaced by the Assam Rifles, whose troopers were well-trained in counter-insurgency.

There are reports of killing and arrest of rebels by Assam Rifles troopers along the border. Besides, some Myanmarese nationals who had infiltrated into Manipur on their way to other parts of India are intercepted by the Assam Rifles every now and then. Shortly after the terror attack against the United States, nearly 200 top-notch rebel leaders were rounded up in Myanmar. However, reports said that they had been set free after one month.

Rebels from other North-Eastern States have been using Moreh in Manipur for crossing over, since in view of the legalised border trade they can easily mingle with the traders and tourists.

Highly-placed sources said the 1,643 km-long India-Myanmar border was porous and the rebels were crossing in many unpoliced areas.

Tougher travel norms

Sources also said that travel regulations at Moreh in Manipur and border towns such as Namphalong and Tamu in Myanmar would be made more stringent to single out the rebels.

For instance, an Indian trader or tourist can now visit the border towns by paying an immigration fee of Rs. 10 a head. There is no inquiry or identification. On the other hand, there is no such system at Moreh with the result that Myanmarese nationals have simply been boarding a bus or taxi to come to India.