GUWAHATI: The Centre has begun fencing the India-Myanmar border in the Northeast.
Despite stiff opposition from state governments of Mizoram and Nagaland and civil bodies from across the region, the Centre has decided to fence 1,643 km India-Myanmar border.
“Out of the total border length, a 10 km stretch in Moreh, Manipur, has already been fenced. Also, two pilot projects of, fencing through a Hybrid Surveillance System (HSS) are under execution,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah told a news agency in New Delhi on February 6.
Shah also reiterated that the move is to “facilitate better surveillance”, adding that a patrol track along the border too will be paved.
He further informed that the Centre will fence a stretch of 1 km each in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur and fence works covering approximately 20 km in Manipur have also been approved. “The work for which will start soon,” he added.
Previously, Mizoram and Nagaland governments had strongly opposed the fencing of the border and the abolition of free movement regime (FMR) with neighbouring Myanmar.
On January 20, after the Union Home Minister announced plans for border fencing during a speech at the passing out parade of Assam Police commandos in Guwahati, Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma strongly opposed the decision.
Lalduhoma argued that the border between Mizoram and Myanmar was established by the British and is “not recognised” by the Mizo people residing on both sides.
However, he acknowledged his government’s limited authority to prevent the Centre from erecting the border fence and abolishing the FMR.
Echoing with Lalduhoma’s sentiments, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had stressed on the need for cautious deliberation before the Centre proceeds with border fencing plans.
More recently, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) also opposed the Centre’s actions.
Additionally, the Young Mizo Association, along with numerous organisations in Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur, have vehemently opposed both the proposed fencing and the abolition of FMR.
Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, however, had expressed gratitude to the Home Minister for the announcements, viewing it as “significant gift” for the state’s people.