India-Myanmar border to be fenced soon, says Home Minister Amit Shah

The Home Minister said the government is also reconsidering its free movement agreement with Myanmar; claimed that the country would be rid of the Naxal problem in the next three years

Updated - January 20, 2024 07:35 pm IST

Published - January 20, 2024 05:38 pm IST - Guwahati

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks during the 60th Raising Day ceremony of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), in Tezpur, on January 20, 2024.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks during the 60th Raising Day ceremony of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), in Tezpur, on January 20, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union government will soon fence the 1,643 km border between India and Myanmar, and will consider ending its free movement regime (FMR) agreement with the neighbouring country, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.

The FMR, implemented in 2018 as part of India’s Act East Policy, allowed residents of both countries living along the border to travel up to 16 km into each other’s territory without a visa. Ending the agreement will restrict this movement.

“I want to tell my friends in Assam that the Narendra Modi government has decided to fence India’s open border along with Myanmar just like we have fenced the country’s border along with Bangladesh,” Mr. Shah said, while addressing the passing-out parade of 2,551 Assam Police commandos in Guwahati.

Much of India’s 4,096 km border with Bangladesh has been double-fenced to stop the unauthorised entry of people into India, a major concern for the northeastern States, especially Assam.

‘No more free movement’

“The government is also reconsidering India’s FMR agreement with Myanmar and will soon end the free movement into India,” Mr. Shah said.

Manipur wants the Myanmar border to be fenced, and the free entry of Myanmar nationals, accused of stoking the ongoing ethnic conflict, stopped. Mizoram and Nagaland, on the other hand, are against the dual move on the Myanmar front as the people on either side of the international border in those States belong to the same ethnic communities.

Some 30,000 Chin people from civil war-torn Myanmar have also taken shelter in Mizoram since February 2021.

Ending the Naxal problem

While addressing the 60th Foundation Day of the Sashastra Seema Bal in north-central Assam’s Tezpur earlier in the day, Mr. Shah claimed that the entire country would be 100% free from the Naxal problem within the next three years under the Narendra Modi-led government.

He accused the Congress of having kept alive both Naxalism and the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. He also slammed the previous Congress regime for fanning the culture of paying bribes to get government jobs, which he said was now a thing of the past.

On the pran pratistha ceremony for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22, he said that Lord Ram would return home after 550 “disrespectful” years.

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