Amit Shah says India scraps Free Movement Regime with Myanmar | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Amit Shah says India scraps Free Movement Regime with Myanmar

Feb 08, 2024 01:18 PM IST

Amit Shah said the decision was taken to maintain the demographic structure of India’s northeastern states bordering Myanmar.

Union home minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has decided that the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar be scrapped to ensure the internal security of the country.

Union home minister Amit Shah.(PTI)
Union home minister Amit Shah.(PTI)

Amit Shah also said the decision was taken to maintain the demographic structure of India’s northeastern states bordering Myanmar. “Since the Ministry of External Affairs is currently in the process of scrapping it, MHA has recommended the immediate suspension of the FMR,” Amit Shah wrote on social media X (formally Twitter).

Amit Shah made the announcement days after he said India has decided to fence the entire 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border, ending the Free Movement Regime (FMR) prevalent along the porous border.

What is Free Movement Regime (FMR)?

The Free Movement Regime or FMR allows people residing close to the India-Myanmar border to venture 16 km into each other's territory without any document.

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

Fencing along the border has been a persistent demand of the Imphal Valley-based Meitei groups which have been alleging that tribal militants often enter into India through the porous border.

Meiteis also alleged that narcotics are being smuggled into India taking advantage of the unfenced international border.

In a post on X, Amit Shah had said the Narendra Modi government is committed to building impenetrable borders.

"It has decided to construct a fence along the entire 1643-kilometer-long Indo-Myanmar border. To facilitate better surveillance, a patrol track along the border will also be paved," the home minister had said.

Amit Shah said a 10-km stretch of the border in Moreh in Manipur has already been fenced.

Furthermore, two pilot projects of fencing through a hybrid surveillance system are under execution.

Manipur shares 390 km of border with Myanmar

Manipur shares around 390 km of border with Myanmar, but 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 border with Myanmar.

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh had also said several persons from Myanmar tried to enter the state but returned on seeing the presence of a large number of security personnel.

On February 3, after meeting Amit Shah, Biren Singh had said the Centre was set to take "some important decisions" in the interests of the people of the state.

(With inputs from agencies)

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