MHA panel to examine rules on people's movement near Indo-Myanmar border

Jun 13, 2017 09:30 IST

The Union Government on 13 June 2017 constituted an expert committee to examine the rules which allow free movement of Indian and Myanmarese citizens within 16 kilometres of the border but are exploited by militants for smuggling arms, drugs and fake Indian Currency.

The committee will be headed by the special secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The decision to constitute the committee was taken at a meeting of the chief ministers of northeastern states which share a porous border with Myanmar. The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

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Agenda of the meeting: The meeting was held in Aizwal to discuss the border issues on Indo-Myanmar border and to know the status of border infrastructure along the Indo-Myanmar border and implementation of the Border Area Development Programme projects.

Participants of the meeting: The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram along with the chief secretaries, DGPs of the states, Director General of the Assam Rifles and other senior officials.

Purpose of the committee: The committee will prepare standard operating procedures common to all the four states so that militants, criminals and contraband are filtered at the border without causing inconvenience to genuine people. It will give its report for uniform and effective implementation of free movement regime within three months.

After the meeting, Rajnath Singh said that the fast improving security situation in the Northeastern region has denied hideouts to militants and some of them have relocated themselves across the border. He also said that at times taking advantage of the free-movement regime, occasionally they enter India and commit crimes and escape to their relatively safer hideouts.

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NOTE: India's 1,643-km border with Myanmar touches four states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. It is unique in many ways as it has a visa-free movement regime for people living within 16km on either side of the border. They can stay up to 72 hours with effective and valid permits issued by the designated authority on either side.

This regime has been in place due to the traditional social ties among the border people. However, it is misused by militants and criminals who smuggle weapons, narcotics, contraband goods and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).

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