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India’s Plan to End Free Movement Regime with Myanmar

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • India intends to terminate the Free Movement Regime (FMR) along its international border with Myanmar.
  • This means that individuals from Myanmar who previously had the freedom to cross into India will now be required to obtain visas.

About Free Movement Regime (FMR)

  • Indo-Myanmar has an open border with FMR within 16 km on both sides.
  • Established familial and ethnic ties between citizens on both sides prompted this arrangement in the 1970s (last revised in 2016).
  • Every member of hill tribes, whether a citizen of India or Myanmar, residing within 16 km on either side, could cross the border with a border pass, usually valid for a year, allowing a two-week stay per visit.
  • Recently, Manipur has urged the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to cancel FMR along the India-Myanmar border.
  • There is a call for completing the fencing along the border.

 

Background on Indo-Myanmar Border

  • India shares a 1,643 km-long border with Myanmar through Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km), and Mizoram (510 km).
  • Myanmar provides an alternative access route to the Northeast of India.
  • Both countries share heritage with religious, linguistic, and ethnic ties, and Myanmar has a significant population of Indian origin.
  • Myanmar serves as India’s gateway to Southeast Asia and ASEAN, aligning with India’s ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • Following the 2021 military coup in Myanmar, over 40,000 refugees sought shelter in Mizoram, and approximately 4,000 refugees entered Manipur.
  • The Kuki-Chin-Zo ethnic group among these migrants shares ethnic ties with communities in Mizoram and Manipur.
  • Assam Rifles (AR) monitors and checks infiltration across this border.

 

Border security is under the Union List (Schedule VII of the Constitution of India)

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