Shah announces massive fence construction along Myanmar border, signals end of FMR

Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared on Tuesday that the government is set to construct a fence spanning the entire 1,643-kilometer-long Indo-Myanmar border. The construction of this extensive...

Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared on Tuesday that the government is set to construct a fence spanning the entire 1,643-kilometer-long Indo-Myanmar border. The construction of this extensive fence marks a significant shift from the Free Movement Regime established in 2018 as part of India’s Act East policy.

This initiative aims to fortify surveillance efforts, with plans to pave a patrol track along the border. Furthermore, two pilot projects employing a hybrid surveillance system for fencing are currently underway. Notably, a 10-kilometer stretch in Moreh, Manipur, has already been fenced.

In a tweet on X, Shah mentioned the Modi government’s commitment to bolstering border security. He announced the commencement of two pilot projects employing a Hybrid Surveillance System (HSS) to fence 1-kilometer stretches in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Additionally, approval has been granted for fence construction covering approximately 20 kilometers in Manipur, with work set to commence shortly.

Under this regime, residents of border areas could travel up to 16 kilometers into the neighbouring country without requiring a visa. Initially intended to promote local border trade and facilitate access to education and healthcare, concerns over illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling prompted the decision to fortify the border.

In the backdrop of ongoing ethnic strife in Manipur, where the border with Myanmar spans nearly 400 kilometers, Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement of extensive fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border has garnered significance. Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, amid accusations of past neglect by central governments towards the state’s concerns, particularly regarding the 390-kilometer-long border with Myanmar, emphasised the pressing need for stringent border control measures. He highlighted ongoing efforts by the Union Home Ministry to fence 60 kilometers of the international border in Manipur, signaling a proactive stance toward border security in the region.

The border between India and Myanmar spans 1,643 kilometers, traversing through the states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh, and currently operates under the Free Movement Regime (FMR) introduced in 2018 as part of India’s Act East policy. In a step towards enhancing border security, authorities have already fenced a 10-kilometer segment in the Moreh region of Manipur.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah elaborated, stating, “These projects aim to fence 1 kilometer each in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Additionally, approval has been granted for fencing approximately 20 kilometers in Manipur, with work set to commence soon.”

 

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