Guwahati: In a significant development, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on January 20 in Guwahati that India will soon seal its open border with Myanmar, putting an end to the Free Movement Regime (FRM). This decision comes in the wake of mounting troubles along the Myanmar border, prompting the Indian government to take measures similar to those implemented along the Bangladesh border to control the unrestricted movement of people into the country.
The Free Movement Regime (FMR), which allowed individuals residing near the India-Myanmar border to travel 16 km into each other’s territory without a visa, will soon be discontinued. Home Minister Shah emphasised the government’s commitment to secure the India-Myanmar border, stating, “India’s border with Myanmar will soon be protected like the border with Bangladesh.”
Addressing the passing out parade of Assam Police commandos, Home Minister Shah reassured the people of the region that the PM Narendra Modi government had decided to fence the open border with Myanmar, mirroring the security measures in place along the Bangladesh border. He also disclosed that the government is reconsidering the Free Movement Regime (FMR) agreement with Myanmar, signalling an imminent end to unrestricted movement into India.
India shares a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar, traversing states like Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh. All these states currently operate under the Free Movement Regime (FMR), initiated in 2018 as part of India’s Act East policy. However, recent incidents of violence in Manipur have underscored the challenges posed by the open border with Myanmar, especially concerning insurgency groups such as the Kuki militants allegedly using Myanmar as a safe haven.
On the other hand, during his address, home minister Amit Shah criticised the previous Congress regime, highlighting the rampant misrule like bribery associated with government job acquisition. He contrasted this with the BJP rule, asserting that no bribes were required for employment under the current administration, HM Shah said thousands of young boys and girls in Sarusajai stadium in Guwahati.
Shifting focus to the upcoming mega consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22, home minister Shah expressed pride in the event, proclaiming it as a matter of national significance. He emphasised the timing of the pran pratishtha ceremony, occurring as the country progresses towards becoming a superpower, and suggested that Lord Ram’s return after 550 years holds historical and cultural significance.
As India takes decisive steps to secure its borders and redefine diplomatic agreements, these developments will undoubtedly shape the nation’s geopolitical landscape in the coming months.