Situation along the border in Myanmar worrisome, says MEA; MHA scraps Free Movement Regime
The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) described the situation along the border with Myanmar as “critical” and “worrisome” even as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decided to scrap the Free Movement Regime between India and Myanmar in view of the deteriorating security situation in the neighbouring country.
“A critical situation has arisen along the border in Myanmar,” MEA Official Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in response to questions at the weekly media briefing in New Delhi on Thursday (January 8, 2024).
“I don't have an exact number, but we do have a Consulate in Sittwe, as you know. The security situation will have an impact on our Consulate as well. We are looking at the situation and we will see how best to deal with it,” he said in response to a specific query on the number of Indian nationals in the affected region.
Responding to another question, he described the situation as “worrisome” and referred to an advisory for Indian nationals issued earlier this week.
Hours earlier, the MHA said it had decided to scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of India’s North Eastern States bordering Myanmar.
The decision was announced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah through a post on social media platform X, where he said that since the Ministry of External Affairs is currently in the process of scrapping it, MHA has recommended the immediate suspension of the FMR. The MHA has also decided to fence the entire 1,643-km long mountainous border between India and Myanmar passing through Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
Myanmar has been rocked by violence since the military (Junta) overturned the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021, imprisoning most of the top leadership. This led to armed ethnic groups and pro-democracy activists fighting with the military; the conflict has intensified since late last year.
On Tuesday (February 6, 2024), the MEA had issued an advisory for Indians travelling to or based in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
“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. Those Indian citizens who are already in Rakhine State are advised to leave the State immediately,” the MEA advisory said.