New Delhi: With hundreds of Myanmarese having crossed the border to seek refuge after heavy fighting between rebels and the junta, India on Thursday (November 16) said that it was “deeply concerned” and wanted a cessation in the violence through “constructive dialogue”.
Since last month, the Myanmar military has faced a major coordinated offensive from an alliance of three ethnic armed forces. This had led to the rebels capturing several towns and security outposts.
In the last couple of days, intense fighting has taken place near the border with India, with some reports stating that more than 5,000 refugees have escaped across the border.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday acknowledged that the fighting has led to an exodus of civilians across the border.
“As a result of fighting between Rikhawadar area opposite Zokhawthar area in [the] India-Myanmar border in Mizoram, in the Chin state of Myanmar, there has been a movement of Myanmar nationals to the Indian side,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday.
He asserted that India was worried about the fighting and would like an end to it.
“We are deeply concerned with such incidents close to our border. Our position on the ongoing situation in Myanmar is very clear. We want cessation of the violence and resolution of the situation through constructive dialogue,” stated Bagchi.
He added that authorities in the Indian states “have been handling the situation appropriately on humanitarian grounds”.
He reiterated that India has called for the “return of peace, stability, and democracy in Myanmar” and that Myanmar citizens had taken refuge since the start of the current conflict in 2021.
He did not, however, specifically address the issue of Myanmar soldiers entering Mizoram after their military camp was taken over by rebels.
According to news agencies, over 70 Myanmar soldiers had fled into India with their arms, who were then handed over by local police to Indian defence authorities.
Bagchi also stated that India was facilitating the return of those who wish to go back to Myanmar.
According to Reuters, most of the 5,000 refugees have returned home as the fighting had calmed down. The Chin rebel forces have reportedly taken control of the Zokhawthar border crossing with India.
The fighting is being described as the biggest challenge faced by the junta, which overthrew the democratic government in Myanmar in February 2021.
Earlier on Wednesday, junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said that the military was contending with “heavy assaults from a significant number of armed rebel soldiers” in Shan state in the northeast, Kayah state in the east and Rakhine state in the west.