Centre to scrap Free Movement Regime between India, Myanmar: Amit Shahtext_fields
New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided that the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar be scrapped to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of India’s northeastern states bordering Myanmar.
“It is Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s resolve to secure our borders. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided that the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar be scrapped to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of India’s North Eastern States bordering Myanmar. Since the Ministry of External Affairs is currently in the process of scrapping it, MHA has recommended the immediate suspension of the FMR,” Shah posted on X.
The centre had in January, decided to start the tender process for an advanced smart fencing system for the entire India-Myanmar border, reported Indian Express.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh also urged the MHA to cancel the FMR along the India-Myanmar border and complete its fencing.
He attributed the ongoing ethnic violence in the State to the free movement of people from across the border. Singh also said the state was working towards a National Register of Citizens and fencing of the border with Myanmar.
Manipur shares around 390 km of porous border with Myanmar, of which only about 10 km is fenced. The border between India and Myanmar runs along four states namely Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
The FMR between India and Myanmar dates back to the 1970s and is a mutually agreed arrangement between the two countries that allows tribes living along the border to travel up to 16 km inside the other country without a visa.
Under the FMR, every member of the hill tribes, who is either a citizen of India or a citizen of Myanmar and who is a resident of any area within 16 km on either side of the border can cross over on production of a border pass with one-year validity and can stay up to two weeks.
The FMR was implemented in 2018 as part of the Modi government’s Act East policy at a time when diplomatic relations between India and Myanmar were on the upswing.
However, the arrangement which was to be put in place in 2017 itself was deferred due to the Rohingya refugee crisis that erupted that August.
The Manipur government has suspended the FMR since 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 6, Tuesday, Shah said that the government has decided to construct a fence along the 1,643-kilometre border with Myanmar.