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NIPF organizes Symposium on India-Myanmar Border Issue

As the Centre recommends the immediate suspension of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) amidst protests from the states of Nagaland, Manipur, and Myanmar, the Nagaland Indigenous Peoples’ Forum (NIPF) is organizing a Symposium on the India-Myanmar Border Issue on 16 February at The Four Seasons Hotel, near the Commissioner of Police Office, Dimapur.

The symposium, themed “Reconsidering the Removal of Free Movement Regime (FMR) and Border Fencing: A Holistic Approach to India-Myanmar Relations,” will gather representatives from North Eastern States and academia. The NIPF has also extended an invitation to the Kuki Inpi, the apex hoho of the Kuki tribe.

According to the NIPF, the symposium aims to address the recent decision by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to remove the FMR and initiate fencing along the more-than-1600-km-long India-Myanmar boundary. It asserts that this decision carries significant implications for the longstanding historical, cultural, and ethnic ties between the two nations, contradicting the principles of “Neighborhood First” and “Act East” policies advocated by the central government.

Providing background on the issue, the NIPF stated that the decision to revoke the FMR and fence the India-Myanmar border is currently surrounded by misconceptions and misrepresentations of the prevailing reality. They emphasize that the colonial boundaries drawn in 1826 after the Anglo-Burmese War respected the close traditional, customary, and kinship ties among cross-border tribal communities. Moreover, the FMR, harmonized and formalized in 2018 by the present BJP Government, recognized the artificial nature of these boundaries and facilitated friendlier relations with Myanmar.

The symposium will address key points such as:
Historical and Political Illogicality: Examining the historical and political context surrounding the FMR and border fencing, emphasizing its contradiction with India’s “Neighbourhood First” and “Act East” policies.

Misconceptions and Reality: Critically assessing the reasons cited for border fencing, such as containing conflict spill-over, curbing illegal trade, tackling insurgencies, and addressing “illegal migration,” while highlighting the misconceived nature of these justifications.

Alternative Solutions: Discussing alternative measures and changes in laws and policies that the Government of India could implement to address the concerns raised, while fostering positive relations with the neighboring country.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Examining how the principles outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples could guide and inform a more inclusive and respectful approach to the border issue.

Mokokchung Times

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