The Centre has set up an expert committee to examine the rules which allow free movement of Indian and Myanmarese citizens within 16 kms of the border, but are exploited by militants for smuggling arms, drugs, and fake Indian currency. Yesterday, the decision was taken at a meeting of chief ministers of the northeastern states which share a porous border with Myanmar.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh decided to constitute the committee, headed by the special secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Mr Singh in Aizwal addressing a press conference said that with fast improving security situation in this region, militants are denied hideouts and some of them have relocated themselves across the border.
The Home Minister said taking advantage of the free-movement regime, occasionally they enter India, commit crimes and escape to their relatively safer hideouts.
The committee will give its report for uniform and effective implementation of free movement regime within three months. The committee will prepare standard operating procedures common for all the four states so that militants, criminals and contraband are filtered at the border without causing inconvenience to genuine people.
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 16 kms 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.
The home minister told reporters, this regime has been in place keeping in view the traditional social ties among the border people. He said, However, it is misused by militants and criminals who smuggle weapons, narcotics, contraband goods and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).
The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said that the Government is committed to fast-track development of the North-Eastern region. Chairing the meeting of Indo-Myanmar Border States in Aizawl yesterday Mr Singh said North-East will shortly have a string of modern cities under Smart City project. Shri Rajnath Singh said, for strengthening the infrastructure in Indo-Myanmar Border, Assam Rifles has given a proposal for construction of roads and airports facilities for their operational requirement.
Mr Singh said, steady progress in infrastructure development has been made in North East in various sectors including inter and intra-regional road, rail and air connectivity. He said infrastructure in power, education, health and setting up institutions of excellence and research in various fields are also being developed. The Home Minister said the centre want to extend these networks to border areas also.