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Will protect Myanmar border, end free movement into India: Amit Shah

“The entire border will be protected through fencing similar to that of the Bangladesh border,” the home minister said.

107018667GUWAHATI: Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the Centre would fence the over 1,600-km porous India-Myanmar border even as he exuded confidence India will be free from the Naxal problem within the next three years.

He made the statement on the Centre’s decision on border fencing while addressing the passing out parade of 2,551 Assam police commandos in Guwahati. They were trained by the Army and the police.

“We have a porous border with Myanmar. The Narendra Modi government has decided to fence it. The entire border will be protected through fencing similar to that of the Bangladesh border,” the home minister said.

He also said the Centre reviewed its Free Movement Regime (FMR) agreement with Myanmar and after a review, decided to do away with it.

India and Myanmar had signed the FMR pact to facilitate the movement of people residing along the international border and encourage people-to-people contact. It allowed them to travel up to 16 km inside each other’s territories without travel documents.

Recently, the Mizoram government expressed opposition to the Centre’s move. Chief Minister Lalduhoma told Modi the Mizos consider the state’s 510-km border with Myanmar as imposed by the British. The Chins in Myanmar and the Mizos are ethnic cousins, belonging to the Zo community.

In his speech, Shah did not spell out why the Modi government took this decision but the open border allows insurgents, among others, to sneak in and out of India. Also, the Manipur government suspected the involvement of Myanmar-based Kuki militants in the violence in the state.

Since the military in Myanmar captured power through a coup in February 2021, over 35,000 refugees from Myanmar crossed over into Mizoram and Manipur. Then, some 500 Myanmar Army personnel fled to Mizoram in the past one month amid their fights with pro-democracy forces. They were repatriated in batches.

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