India Deports ‘First Batch of Myanmar Nationals’ Who Entered India Illegally


Last Updated: March 08, 2024, 20:42 IST

The deportation comes a month after the Indian government called for an immediate end to a free movement border agreement with Myanmar.

The deportation comes a month after the Indian government called for an immediate end to a free movement border agreement with Myanmar.

India begins deporting Myanmar nationals amid border conflict surge. Manipur chief minister announces first batch’s deportation

India on Friday began deporting Myanmar nationals who had fled a recent surge in fighting between the junta and rebels in a border region. This comes as thousands of civilians have fled the fighting in the Southeast Asian country, crossing into India’s northeastern states.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh posted a video showing the Myanmar nationals being sent away. “First batch of Myanmar nationals who entered India illegally deported today,” the chief minister of Manipur state which borders Myanmar, said in a post on social media platform X. “Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, it has given shelter & aid to those fleeing the crisis in Myanmar on humanitarian grounds with a systematic approach,” Singh said.

Free movement Deal

The deportation comes a month after the Centre called for an immediate end to a free movement border agreement with Myanmar that allowed residents living in border zones to venture a short distance into their neighbouring nation’s territory without a visa. “The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided that the Free Movement Regime between India and Myanmar be scrapped to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of India’s northeastern states bordering Myanmar,” Home Minister Amit Shah said in a statement.

India shares a long land border of over 1600 kms with Myanmar as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Four north-eastern states, viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, have a boundary with Myanmar.  Both countries share a heritage of religious, linguistic and ethnic ties. Myanmar is the only ASEAN country adjoining India and, therefore, the country’s gateway to Southeast Asia.

However, parts of Myanmar near the Indian border have seen frequent clashes since Arakan Army (AA) fighters attacked security forces in November, ending a ceasefire that had largely held since a 2021 military coup. Hundreds of soldiers were among those who had fled Myanmar and crossed over to India to escape the fighting. Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued an advisory, calling on Indian nationals in the Rakhine State of Myanmar to “leave the State immediately.”

(With agency inputs)





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