Mizoram Current Affairs

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Expert Committee Constituted to examine Rules on Movement of People Near Indo-Myanmar Border

Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted an expert committee to examine the rules which allow free movement of people near Indo-Myanmar border. Indian and Myanmarese citizens are permitted free movement within 16 km of the international border, but these rules are widely exploited by militants for smuggling arms, drugs, and fake Indian currency.

The decision to constitute an MHA panel was taken at a meeting of chief ministers of the northeastern states which share a border with Myanmar. This is for the first time that meeting with the state governments has been called to discuss the issues concerning the Myanmar border. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram, and the Home Minister of Nagaland.

Salient Highlights

The expert committee would be headed by the special secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The panel will examine the rules and regulations adopted by the border states for free movement of the people. It has to suggest for uniform and effective implementation of free movement regime in the states which share a porous border with Myanmar

The committee has to come up with standard operating procedures common to all the four states that will provide effective measures to filter out militants, criminals and contraband at the border without causing inconvenience to genuine people.

The panel has to submit its report within three months. 

Background

India shares 1,643-km long border with Myanmar that passes through four states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. At present, both Indian and Myanmarese citizens are permitted a visa-free movement regime within 16 km on either side of the border. They are permitted to stay up to 72 hours with valid permits. These rules were kept in place in view of the traditional and social ties among the border people. There are over 240 villages with an estimated population of 2.5 lakh people living within 10 km of the border. However, India’s international border with Myanmar is very porous with cross-border movement of insurgents and smuggling of arms and ammunition being very common.

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Government awards Contracts for completion of Kaladan project in Myanmar

Government has awarded a Rs 1,600-crore contract for constructing 109-km road connecting Paletwa river terminal to Zorinpui in Mizoram border as a part of the $484-million Kaladan multi-modal transport (KMTT) projects in Myanmar which will offer connectivity to Mizoram.

Salient Highlights

Kaladan multi-modal transport projects was the first major project undertaken by the Indian government in Myanmar. 

India has finished constructing Sittwe port in the trouble-prone Rakhine state of Myanmar. Also, the extension of the Aizawl-Saiha National Highway by 90 km to the international border at Zorinpui at the Indian side is nearing completion. In addition, four-laning of the 300 km Aizawl-Tuipang highway to ensure faster movement of goods between Sittwe and Aizawl is also nearing completion.

KMTT

KMTT is essentially a multi-modal transport project having three different stretches involving shipping, Inland Water and road transport stretches. The longest among them is Shipping segment from Kolkata to Sittwe port in Myanmar.

Government of India is funding this project and it is considered as an important investment of India in its neighbourhood.

The cargo will start from Kolkata port and reach Sittwe port in Myanmar by ship. The Sittwe Port would be linked to Lashio (also in Maynmar) via the Kaladan river transport route. Lashio would be connected to Mizoram via road transport (National Highway 54).


Background

The idea for Kaladan multi-modal transport projects was mooted in 2003. However, India and Myanmar signed the framework agreement for Kaladan project only in 2008. Construction began in 2010 but inadequate fund allocation and planning failure delayed the completion of the project.

In 2015, the present government revised the budget estimates by nearly six times and has involved the State-owned Ircon Infrastructure and Services Ltd as consultant with an objective to complete the project in 2019.

As per the terms of the framework agreement, India should also set up an SEZ at Sittwe. The setting up of SEZ at Sittwe is important to promote Indian investment in the region which has overwhelming Chinese influence.

Significance

The completion of KMTT project will play a major role in economic development of the North-East India and it will improve the bilateral relations between India and Myanmar.

When completed, the KMTT will shorten the current time taken to transport goods from Kolkata to Mizoram by three-four days, and the distance by around 950 km. KMMT is hailed as “Future gateway to South East Asia”.

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12th Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant held in Vairengte  

The twelfth edition Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2017 has begun at Vairengte in Mizoram. Vairengte houses Indian Army’s elite Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School.

The first joint Nomadic Elephant was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held. It seeks to promote military associations between India and Mongolia. 

Key Facts 
  • The two week exercise (from 5 to 18 April 2017), is aimed at training the troops in Counter Insurgency & Counter Terrorism Operations (CICT Ops) under the United Nations mandate.
  • In this edition of exercise, Indian Army is represented by a contingent comprising of three officers, four JCOs and 39 soldiers of the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles.
  • While, Mongolian Army is represented by nine officers and 36 soldiers of the elite 084 Special Forces Task Battalion.
  • In this edition, both countries will lay emphasis on conducting operations by joint subunit, comprising of troops from both armies, in adverse operational conditions to enhancing interoperability between them.
  • It encompasses important aspects like convoy protection, room intervention drills, ambush/counter-ambush drills while jointly conducting counter-terrorist operations under the UN mandate.

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