Foreign Policy Watch: India-Myanmar

SOP to help movement of locals, raise security at Myanmar border


Mains Paper 2: India and neighborhood relations

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Not much

Mains level: This article gives insights about the latest move of the government to devise standard operating procedures to facilitate movement across Indo Myanmar border.




  • The government has decided to devise standard operating procedures (SOP) to facilitate movement of Indian and Myanmarese citizens residing within 16 km of the India-Myanmar border.

The Free Movement Regime

  1. The Home Ministry held consultations with Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh the states bordering Myanmar to discuss the Free Movement Regime (FMR).
  2. The FMR permits tribes residing along the border to travel 16 km across the boundary without visa restrictions.
  3. It was found that states follow different protocols for FMR.
  4. The Home Ministry considered this to be a security threat and have come up with common SOPs for all four states.
  5. It is a measure to upgrade security at the border amid the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar following turmoil in Rakhine province of that country.
  6. According to government estimates, there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims spread across India.
  7. The Home Ministry is also having a parallel discussion with the Ministry of External Affairs and their counterparts in Myanmar to allow Indian nationals living near the border to visit Myanmar for up to 72 hours.
  8. While India allows Myanmarese nationals to stay 72 hours without visa, Myanmar allows stay of only 24 hours.

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