India-Myanmar: Central agencies closely monitor ground situation along Mizoram border following asylum seekers

The Central government’s various branches and organs are closely monitoring situation arising out Myamarese asylum seekers in Mizoram amid New Delhi’s balanced approach in dealing with the neighbour with which it shares over 1,600-km-border.

ET has learnt that various wings and branches of the Central government as well as security establishment are studying and closely monitoring the situation on the ground following entry of asylum seekers in Mizoram.

“It would be imprudent for the government to announce a policy given the delicate situation within Myanmar and the nature of India-Myanmar ties. India has called for reconciliation and peace within Myanmar for return of stability and peace,” explained an expert familiar with the developments within Myanmar.

Last week Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga urged the Centre to provide asylum to refugees fleeing Myanmar. The CM also opposed the Centre’s order to security forces to stop the influx and deport refugees. Mizoram cannot be indifferent to the suffering of Chin communities in Myanmar’s border, who are of the same ethnicity, the CM said.

Recently at a Parliamentary committee meeting on External Affairs Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla had underlined that India is the only country that can help Myanmar restore balance and expressed reservations against use of sanctions.

“…It has been our stated policy that the current developments have adversely affected the transitional democracy, that India supports the rule of law and the restoration of democracy in that country, and that we will constructively engage to ensure that those objectives are met. In that context, I would say that we have a 1,700 km border with Myanmar, we have people-to-people links with Myanmar, we are undertaking huge connectivity projects for which we have already spent a lot of money, we have mobilised a lot of people and equipment there,” he said.

“…we are in touch with all concerned, including democracy activists. We are playing a constructive role–both within Myanmar and the international community, and the Security Council where we are currently members–in ensuring that we restore that essential balance in Myanmar and that democracy is restored in the earliest possible time, but without in any way affecting our larger interest in that neighbouring country. I think we are the only country that has that ability. Most of Myanmar‘s other neighbours are not democracies and they do not recognise this factor, and countries that are sanctioning them and taking strong position against them are very far away.”

India’s aid to Myanmar during 2020-21 was Rs 300 crore and the same was increased to Rs 350 crore. For 2021-22, allocation has been pegged at Rs 400 crore.

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