South Asia

Kuki Body Expresses 'Profound Dismay' at India-Myanmar Border Fencing

Kuki Inpi Manipur said the 'abrupt' fencing will not address some of the 'complex challenges' that the area faces.

New Delhi: The Kuki Inpi Manipur, an organisation of Kuki tribal communities in the conflict-affected state, has expressed concern over the Union government’s decision to end free movement of people at the India-Myanmar border. It has described the decision as ‘abrupt.’

At a public address on January 20, Union home minister Amit Shah said that the border separating India and Myanmar will be entirely fenced with barbed wire.

Shah said the government will also consider ending the Free Movement Regiment, implemented in 2018 as part of India’s Act East Policy. It allowed residents of both countries living along the border to travel up to 16 kilometres into each other’s territories without a visa.

Kuki Inpi Manipur registered its profound dismay over the decision and said fencing will not address some of the “complex challenges” that the area faces, reported PTI.

“…[C]oupled with the move for the cancellation of Free Movement Regime…The unforeseen development has prompted a profound sense of concern within the Kuki Zo community,” it said.

The Kuki body has appealed to the Union government to “reassess this course of action”.

Manipur is one of four states which share a border with Myanmar. The others are Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.

The Manipur government under N. Biren Singh has alleged that the involvement of “mercenaries” from Myanmar is likely in a recernt attack on security forces in the state.