Halt in India-Burma border fencing work

By NJ Thakuria


(Guwahati, 6 December 2013): Indian Union government has asked to stop the ongoing border fencing work with Burma (Myanmar) across Manipur in northeast India.

The suspension order from the Union home ministry to the Border Road Organisation on the fencing work came following the allegation that it passes through the Indian land in many points.

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already intervened on the matter and assured various political parties from Manipur that even ‘an inch of land in Indian territory would not be conceded to the neighbouring country’.

Mentionable is that a delegation of all political parties from Manipur under the leadership of the State chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh met the Indian Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on December 5, 2013  and expressed their concern  that the Indo-Myanmar border fencing passes through the territory of Manipur in many places.

Attended by senior officials from the Union home ministry, Border Road Organisation, Surveyor General of India, Assam Rifles etc, the meeting also resolved to send a joint delegation comprising the concerned officials and Manipur political party leaders to the disputed locations for conducting a spot verification exercise.

The Manipur based newspaper Imphal Free Press has editorialized issues saying that ‘the Centre has reflected its seriousness on rectification of the fencing by its deeds over the last two days including the pledge from the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on protecting every inch of land belonging to Manipur’.

“The direction from the Union government to the Border Road Organisation on Thursday to stop fencing works along the Myamarese border right away will calm a lot of unsettled nerves. We can make a derivation that the Centre has acknowledged that the present situation merits more facts digging and rummaging through old history and geography manuscripts and that the line of fencing is not as clear cut, contrary to its earlier assumptions,” added the editorial of Imphal Free Press, a popular English daily on December 6 issue.

It also pointed out that the Union government has ‘treated the issue with gravity’. Besides the officials of the Home ministry and the State team, the other representations at the talks were from the BRO, the SGI and the AR, which has been watching the 1624 kilometer long Indo-Myanmar border, narrated the editorial adding that ‘all the sides that participated at the decisive discussion on Thursday will be represented during the spot verification of the fencing work and disputed border pillars on December 7 & 8 as well’.