Guwahati: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the government will end the free movement of people at the India-Myanmar border, and fence it completely so that it can be protected like the country's boundary with Bangladesh.
Shah made the announcement while addressing the passing out parade of the first batch of the five newly constituted Assam Police Commando battalions in Guwahati.
"The Narendra Modi government has decided that the India-Myanmar border, which is open, will be protected by barbed fencing. The entire border will have barbed fencing like what we have at the India-Bangladesh border," he said.
"The Indian government is rethinking the free movement agreement with Myanmar. Now, the Government of India is going to stop this facility," he added.
The Free Movement Regime allows people living on both sides of the border to travel 16 km into each other's territory without a visa. Four Indian states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, share a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar.
Earlier, officials had said that the government was planning to fence a 300-km stretch of the border.
More than 31,000 people from Myanmar, mostly from the Chin state, have taken refuge in Mizoram following the military coup in the neighbouring country in February 2021. Many also took shelter in Manipur.
Dozens of Myanmar soldiers stationed near the international border with India also fled to Mizoram following intense gunfights with militia group People's Defence Force (PDF) last year. They were later sent back to their country.
Shah also said that there has been a huge change in the law and order of the country under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi during the last 10 years.
"During decades of Congress rule, Jammu and Kashmir, Naxal areas and Northeast remained disturbed. Now, the violence in these areas has gone down 73 per cent and it is a happy development for us," he added.
He alleged that people had to pay bribes to get government jobs during the Congress's tenure in power, and maintained that not a single penny had to be paid for employment under the BJP rule.
"When I had come (to Assam) during elections, we had promised to give one lakh jobs without any corruption. Himant Biswa Sarma has fulfilled that promise," he added.
On the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya, Shah said Lord Ram would "enter his own big temple" after staying outside his home for "550 disrespectful years".
"It's a matter of pride for the entire India," he said, noting that it was happening at a time when the country was on the course to become a superpower.
He said that India's journey to become fully developed and self-sufficient by 2047 under the leadership of PM Modi was starting with Ram Lalla's consecration ceremony.
Congratulating the 2,551 commandos, who were inducted into the force at the function, Shah said that the Assam Police has faced the most difficult challenges in India, such as riots during the Partition, refugee problem, infiltration, the Bangladesh liberation war, insurgency and drug menace.
"However, the Assam Police has a rich history of fighting these challenges and winning," he said.
Shah said that the law and order situation in Assam has improved considerably during the last five years with almost all major insurgent groups laying down arms, and the youths joining the mainstream, leading to a reduction in areas under the AFSPA.
"In border districts, strict vigil is being maintained. The coordination between Assam Police and CAPF is going on fine to stop smuggling. Since May 2021, the Assam Police arrested 13,560 drug peddlers, registered over 8,100 cases and seized huge quantities of narcotics," he said.