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TR Zeliang Urges Centre To Develop A Balanced Approach For Border Management

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HT Correspondent

DIMAPUR, Feb 29: Nagaland deputy chief minister TR Zeliang urged the Government of India to develop a comprehensive and balanced approach for border management along the India-Myanmar border, saying any unilateral decision to impose its decision to divide the Naga people by erecting border fence may have a negative impact.

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Participating in the discussion on fencing of India-Myanmar border in the state assembly on Thursday, Zeliang said, “This is a serious issue for the Naga people.”

He further added that the House may pass a resolution of opposition and convey to the Government of India the feelings of the Naga people who are vehemently opposing the construction of border fence along the India-Myanmar boundary bordering Nagaland.

He also suggested that like-minded state governments in Northeast India may collectively approach the Government of India for reconsideration of its decision to abrogate the Free Movement Regime (FMR).

According to him, the Act East policy of the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi which intends to improve trade and communications across the India-Myanmar border will be defeated if the boundary fencing is given the go-ahead. Further, he opined that the FMR which aims to facilitate local border trade, improve access to education and healthcare for border residents, and strengthen diplomatic ties must neither be scrapped nor modified without taking the grassroots populace into confidence.

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Saying that under the FMR, cross-border movement is permitted up to 16 km without a visa, Zeliang said the idea of fencing the India-Myanmar border and scrapping this prevailing system of FMR will antagonise the Naga people as their desire to bond and connect, prosper, and live together as one people is a legitimate right.


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