Arunachal Pradesh CM hails Centre's move to fence India-Myanmar border

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Itanagar, Feb 7 (PTI) Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu hailed the decision of the Centre to fence the entire 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border, saying that the move will check the movement of unscrupulous elements from across the border.

Home Minister Amit Shah had on Tuesday announced the decision to fence the India-Myanmar border, which could virtually put an end to the Free Movement Regime (FMR) prevalent along the porous border.

The 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 has FMR. It was introduced in 2018 as part of India's Act East policy.

Arunachal Pradesh shares a 520-km border with Myanmar.

"A great move in the right direction to make our borders foolproof. Gratitude to Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji and Hon'ble Home Minister Shri @AmitShah ji to fence our borders along Myanmar", Khandu posted on X.

A state-of-the-art surveillance will check the movement of unscrupulous elements, Khandu said in another social media post.

"The Modi government is committed to building impenetrable borders. It has decided to construct a fence along the entire 1643-km-long Indo-Myanmar border. To facilitate better surveillance, a patrol track along the border will also be paved", Shah posted on X on Tuesday.

Out of the total border length, a 10 km stretch in Moreh, Manipur, has already been fenced. Furthermore, two pilot projects of fencing through a Hybrid Surveillance System (HSS) are under execution. They will fence a stretch of 1 km each in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Additionally, fence works covering approx 20 km in Manipur have also been approved, and the work will start soon, the Union Home minister added.

The porous border gives easy access to NE insurgent groups staying in Myanmar, to carry out unsocial activities in the three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh – Tirap, Changlang and Longding.

There have been numerous reports of kidnapping and killing of civilians by insurgent groups, who fled to the neighbouring country after committing crimes.

Border trade between India and Myanmar which existed along the Pangsau Pass in Changlang district of the northeastern state, came to a grinding halt after the outbreak of Covid pandemic in 2020.

The governments of the two countries, on September 26, 1950, signed an agreement, according to which the indigenous hill tribes of both sides living within 40 km of the border were exempted from the requirement of a passport for trade purposes.

A MoU was signed in 2012 between India and Myanmar for the establishment of border haats along the international border at Pangsau Pass to facilitate trade. Accordingly, both countries established border haats for trading purposes.

Sixty-two commodities, including, food items, vegetables, utensils, cosmetics, 100 cc motorbikes and cement, were allowed for trade by both the countries which were under tax exemption, Trade Development Officer at Nampong in Changlang district, Tangli Mossang said.

The state administration and the government of Myanmar, through a mutual understanding, had allowed border trade on 10, 20 and 30th of every month at Pangsau Pass and every Friday at Nampong, Local MLA Laisam Sima said.

The border trade has been suspended after the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 and since then, it has not been resumed, Changlang Deputy Commissioner Sunny Kumar Singh said.

"The fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border will boost our national security and will reduce the negative issues pertaining to cross-border illegal movement", Singh added. PTI UPL UPL RG