BJP government must rethink scrapping of Free Movement Regime in Manipur and beyond

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Internal Security, Topic: North -East regional issues, Issue: Free Movement Regime(FMR)

Context: Free Movement Regime(FMR) between India and Myanmar was suspended.

  • India is planning to fence the entire India-Myanmar border with a hybrid surveillance system.

Significance of FMR:

  • The India-Myanmar border is a colonial legacy, dividing communities with shared ethnicity, history, and culture.
  • The FMR has been a lifeline,facilitating movement of residents living within 16 km of the border.

Reactions after suspension of FMR:

  • Mizoram and Nagaland passed unanimous resolutions condemning the decision to withdraw the FMR.
  • Nagas, Mizos, Chins, and Kuki-Jo communities oppose the withdrawal of FMR due to strong ethnic and kinship ties with Myanmar.

●        Myanmar initiated FMR-like arrangements in 1948, allowing indigenous people from neighboring countries to travel without passports.

●        India reciprocated in 1950, permitting ethnic community members within 40 km of the border to stay for up to 72 hours.

●        In 1968, India introduced a permit system to curb insurgencies, reducing the geographic limit to 16 km.

●        The Agreement on Land Border Crossing, or FMR, came into effect in 2018, allowing residents within 16 km of the border to visit the other side with a border pass.

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