Facing growing militant activities, Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh on Monday requested the Centre to take "firm" steps to deal with illegal influx of foreigners as well as smuggling of arms through the porous international border into the state.
In his address at the National Integration Council, Singh said there was a need to fence 367 km-long border with Myanmar to control smuggling of arms, drugs and use of adjoining areas as safe haven by insurgent groups.
"We need a firm and consistent approach in dealing with illegal influx of foreigners, particularly from some of our neighbouring countries," Singh said.
He said though Manipur did not share borders with Bangladesh, there were reports of illegal migrants from the country entering some areas in the state.
Emphasising the need for balanced economic development of the Northeast, Singh also urged the Centre to provide all assistance for improving road connectivity, availability of power and banking and financial services.
Hailing the Centre's 'Look East Policy', he said it has given a new ray of hope for the region. "Manipur offers the most feasible land-route as the gateway to the dynamic South Asian countries".
Singh also called for lifting of travel restrictions for the Northeast saying this has hampered economic development of the region.
He said UPA government's flagship programmes like the NREGS has contributed significantly to the people in the rural areas finding gainful employment.
The Manipur Chief Minister also thanked Minister for Development of North Eastern Region Mani Shanker Aiyar for his unstained efforts in catalysing development in the region.