Amidst Rohingya crisis, centre reviews free movement regime with Myanmar
The free movement regime, a bi-lateral agreement between Indian and Myanmar is under review in the wake of the Rohingya Muslim crisis. This agreement allows free movement of Indian and Myanmarese citizens within 16 kilometres of the border. This has on several occasions been exploited by terrorists and smugglers.
To review the situation, the Home Ministry sent two of its senior officials to four states along the Indo-Myanmar border. Special secretary (internal security) Rina Mitra and joint secretary (northeast), Satyendra Gard met with senior officials of the four states where the regime is in force.
India has a 1,643-km border with Myanmar and it is unique in many ways as it has a visa-free movement regime for people living within 16 km on either side of the border. They can stay up to 72 hours with effective and valid permits issued by the designated authorities on either side.
This regime has been in place keeping in view the traditional social relations among the border people. It helps genuine people living in close proximity of the border.
"However, it is misused by militants and criminals who smuggle weapons, narcotics, contraband goods and Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN)," Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.