Aizawl (zoramobserver.com): While some states in the Northeast want to close their borders with Bangaldesh and Myanmar, Mizoram took a different approach on Monday during a meeting of Northeast Chief Ministers on security along the Indo-Myanmar border which was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, citing close ethnic ties with people on the Myanmar side of the border, said that the present free zone should be extended from 16 km to 60 km and that the duration of stay in both countries should be made 60 days as against the current 72 hours deadline.
“For us in Mizoram, due to our ethnic ties with the people on the other side of Myanmar border, we would welcome restoration of a 60-km free zone and a stay period of up to 60 days as against 72 hours,” Lal Thanhawla said during the meeting. India and Myanmar has a free movement agreement that allows people from either side of the international border to enter the country up to a certain limit and period. Mizoram stand is opposed to Arunachal Pradesh which wants its sections of the border with Myanmar to be sealed.
Lal Thanhawla also urged the Central government to make useful of the traditional ties of the Zo people. “India can exploit this traditional and cultural ties to promote trade and business opportunities as part of its Act East Policy,” he said.
And on the border along with Bangladesh, the chief chief minister said that border fencing has led to lost of land. “Border fencing along, both with Myanmar and Bangladesh, has forced our people from farming outside the fencing areas. As such we are losing losing precious land. In addition, our boundaries with Myanmar and Bangladesh are divided by natural rivers which makes fencing not only difficult, but not good for our farmers,” he said.
The chief minister also said that Mizoram will soon come up with guidelines on a Free Movement Regime. So far, the state has four designated crossing points where entry fees are collected from visitors.