India To Fence Entire 1,643-Km Border With Myanmar, Construct Patrol Track: Amit Shah

India will construct a fence along the entire 1,643-km-long Indo-Myanmar border, and also pave a patrol track along the border for better surveillance

India will fence the entire 1,643-long Indo-Myanmar border

New Delhi:

India will fence the entire 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar and build a patrolling track next to the fence, Home Minister Amit Shah said in a post on X today.

The announcement comes amid the ethnic violence in Manipur between the hill-majority Kuki-Zo tribes, who share ethnic ties with communities in Myanmar's Chin State, and the valley-majority Meiteis.

"The Modi government is committed to building impenetrable borders. It has decided to construct a fence along the entire 1,643-kilometre-long Indo-Myanmar border. To facilitate better surveillance, a patrol track along the border will also be paved," PM Modi said.

"Out of the total border length, a 10-km stretch in Moreh, Manipur, has already been fenced. Furthermore, two pilot projects of fencing through a hybrid surveillance system are under execution. They will fence a stretch of 1-km each in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Additionally, fence works covering approximately 20 km in Manipur have also been approved, and the work will start soon," the Home Minister said in the post on X, formerly Twitter.

After meeting the Home Minister on February 3, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had announced the Centre "is set to take some important decisions in the interests of the people of Manipur".

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 Mr 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 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.

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Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, has also backed the Centre's plan to fence the India-Myanmar border. "Keeping the borders secure is the nation's prime duty. The western sector is well-guarded and fenced, so is mostly the border with Bangladesh. On the Myanmar border, there has been a general view for a long time that the areas have been thriving with people from many communities with little problem," Mr Singh told NDTV on January 7.

"But the situation today is such that boundary fencing is a must. Everyone in Bharat must keep national security as their first priority. So border fencing should be done before working on border management. Both are separate matters," the MP from Inner Manipur constituency said.

The ethnic violence in Manipur has killed over 180 and internally displaced thousands.