Manipur Current Affairs

CCEA approves SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program – Tranche 2

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur.

The Imphal-Moreh Section is a vital link in providing road connectivity up to Thailand and Malaysia. It will boost trade, commerce and tourism in the region.

Key Facts

The project is being developed with Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program. It aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity.

The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01).  It will fulfil India’s “Look East” Policy and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus, it will promote and enhance trade link with South East Asia.  The project will also improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of Manipur which is a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain.

SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program (SRCIP)

SRCIP is a strategic initiative that aims to achieve regional integration among the members of the SASEC group by improving road connectivity within the North Bengal-North Eastern Region in India. The members of SASEC group are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. 

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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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