Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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India advises its citizens to avoid travelling to Myanmar

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NEW DELHI, Jan 6: Following its announcement that it would fence its entire international border with Myanmar, India on Tuesday advised its citizens not to travel to neighbouring Myanmar and to immediately leave the unrest-plagued Rakhine state, which borders Manipur and Mizoram.
The Ministry of External Affairs also advised the Indian nationals to leave the disturbed state.
“In view of the deteriorating security situation, disruption of means of telecommunications, including landlines, and severe scarcity of essential commodities, all Indian citizens are advised not to travel to the Rakhine State of Myanmar,” the advisory from the Ministry said.
Those Indian citizens who are already in Rakhine State are advised to leave the State immediately. It added.
Rakhine, formerly known as Arakan, is bordered by Chin State to the north, Manipur and Mizoram to the east, the Bay of Bengal to the west and the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh to the northwest. This part of Myanmar is the most disturbed with the rebels fighting the ruling Junta Government.
Home Minister Amit Shah had said that India will fence the entire 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar and build a patrolling track next to the fence.
The announcement comes amid the ethnic violence in Manipur between the hill-majority Kuki-Zo tribes, who share ethnic ties with communities in Chin State, and the valley-majority Meiteis.
The Meiteis have attributed alleged unchecked entry of illegal immigrants from Myanmar using the free-movement regime (FMR) over a period of decades as one of the factors behind the ethnic clashes in the state.
The Kuki-Zo tribes refute this allegation, and point at Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who is from the BJP, for inciting fear of a demographic invasion among the Meiteis to draw their political support.
The FMR, which in its current form enables entry without visa and passport, began as a system — after Independence — to allow tribes who share familial, social and ethnic ties on both sides of the border to keep in touch with their people.
The Centre is also considering ending the FMR, a move that Nagaland and Mizoram object as kindred tribes live across the border.
However, with pro-democracy insurgents fighting the Myanmar Junta right across the border, the Centre seems keen on setting up a minimum form of a physical barrier along the border to address concerns of Indian citizens living near the border.
Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, who hails from Manipur, has also backed the Centre’s plan to fence the India-Myanmar border.

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