The Union Cabinet has approved Agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing. It is an enabling arrangement for movement of people across border of both counties.
The agreement is expected to provide connectivity and enhance interaction of people of North Eastern States of India with the people of Myanmar.
The agreement will facilitate movement of people on basis of valid passports and visas which will enhance economic and social interaction between two countries. It will facilitate regulation and harmonization of already existing free movement rights for people ordinarily residing in border areas of both countries.
It will also give boost to economy of North East and leverage geographical connections with Myanmar to boost trade and people to people ties. It will also safeguard traditional rights of largely tribal communities residing along border which are accustomed to free movement across land border.
India shares 1,643-km long border with Myanmar. It passes through four northeaster states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. At present both countries have unique visa-free movement regime for people living within 16 km on either side of the border.
Free movement regime (FMR) was bilateral agreement between India and Myanmar that allows free movement of Indian and Myanmarese citizens within 16 km of the border without visa restrictions for 72 hours. Its purpose is to alleviate insecurity of tribals living along India and Myanmar border as they still continue to have trans-border linkages with their kiths and kins.
This regime has been in place to protect traditional social relations among border people. However, it has been misused by militants and criminals who are using it to smuggle weapons, narcotics, contraband goods and Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN).