NEW DELHI – In a significant development, the authorities in India have disclosed the government’s decision to abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) with Myanmar.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah on Thursday, aimed at ensuring the internal security of the country.
This decision follows the recent declaration by the Home Minister regarding the fortification of the 1,643-km (1,020 mile) border through fencing. Presently, individuals residing within a 16-km (10 mile) radius on both sides of the border enjoy visa-free movement.
However, concerns over communal tensions spreading into Indian Territories due to the influx of civilians and troops fleeing Myanmar since the military coup in 2021 prompted the Indian government to reassess the existing policy. The situation has been particularly tense in Manipur, where ethnic conflicts have escalated, exacerbated by the porous international border facilitating movements of armed groups. The ongoing civil war-like situation has posed significant challenges for the region’s stability. While the decision to scrap the Free Movement Regime requires notification to Myanmar, immediate suspension is anticipated.
The Myanmar junta’s response to this development remains awaited, as the military rulers continue to grapple with a pro-democracy rebellion within their borders, resulting in a prolonged state of emergency.
India has also issued an advisory, urging its citizens in Myanmar’s border Rakhine state to evacuate promptly, citing escalating security concerns and severe disruptions in essential services.
Furthermore, the influx of Myanmar troops seeking refuge in India and the escalation of violence near the border have further heightened tensions. With rebels gaining control of border towns, the humanitarian crisis shows no signs of abating, with thousands fleeing into Indian territories seeking safety.
As the situation unfolds, both India and Myanmar are poised to navigate through complex security challenges, with implications extending beyond their borders.
India is the seventh-largest country by land area, boasts a diverse population exceeding 1.3 billion. Renowned for its iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal and diverse landscapes including the Himalayas and Kerala’s backwaters, India captivates visitors with its rich cultural heritage.
On the other hand, Myanmar, with a population over 54 million, features stunning attractions like the ancient city of Bagan and the serene Inle Lake. It’s known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes, including lush forests and pristine beaches.