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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Villagers on India, Myanmar border to get passes

Sunday, 14 January 2018 12:37
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4 states told to bring residents under Aadhaar

New Delhi, January13: India and Myanmar are all set to streamline free movement of people within 16 km along their borders. The Centre has asked the four states that share unfenced border with Myanmar to distribute “border pass” to all the residents living within 16 km from the boundary line. It has also asked the governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram to enrol the border residents under Aadhaar on war footing.

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will be in New Delhi next week along with nine ASEAN leaders as a chief guest for the Republic Day parade.

A formal agreement is expected to be signed between India and Myanmar during her visit.

“The border pass will be given only to the domiciles. All residents going across the border for agriculture, work or to meet relatives should carry the pass at all times. There will be no restrictions on their movement,” said an official.

The official explained that both the countries had been intending to put a system in place after India raised the issue of movement of extremists and smugglers freely across the border.

On January 3, the Union Cabinet had approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on land border crossing which the government said would enhance economic interaction between the people of the two countries.

“It is not that people living in other parts of the country can go near the border and cross over. The pass will only be applicable for the domiciles. We are not going to set up border posts or check points but random security checks will be done and action will be taken against anyone who doesn’t have the pass. Myanmar will also distribute cards to its residents,” said the official.

India and Myanmar share an unfenced border of 1,643 km, touching Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km).

An official clarified that the agreement is not associated with the Centre’s stand regarding Rohingyas as this part of the border is not known to be used by the refugees to come to India.

In 2015, militants belonging to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) killed 18 Army personnel in Chandel district of Manipur, following which the Indian Army carried out an operation in bordering areas of Myanmar to destroy the extremist camps. The militants took advantage of the free border to enter India and carry out the attack. The same year, a high-level committee report submitted by Joint Intelligence Committee chief R.N. Ravi had suggested changing the “misnomer” related to “free border movement” and asked the government to replicate the model prevalent in villages and areas along the Bangladesh border. The report had suggested dedicated crossing points in border villages where policemen would be made in charge of regulating the movement of people. (Courtesy: The Hindu)

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