India issues travel advisory against Myanmar's Rakhine state as crisis escalates
Dangers and incidents
08.02.2024 Myanmar Rakhine State   7
India issues travel advisory against Myanmar's Rakhine state as crisis escalates

Amid escalating tensions in Myanmar The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has issued a directive urging Indian citizens to refrain from traveling to Rakhine State. The MEA has advised Indians currently living in Rakhine State to also leave the area as soon as they can.

In an official statement, the MEA highlighted the deteriorating security situation, disruptions in telecommunications, including landlines , as well as severe shortages of essential commodities as key factors in issuing the recommendation. The statement stressed the urgent need for Indian citizens to avoid travel to Rakhine State and advised those already there to leave the state immediately, given the difficult conditions prevailing on the ground.

Last week, India expressed concern about the deterioration situation in Myanmar and called for a speedy resolution of the conflict. This prompted the MEA to issue an advisory and ask citizens to exercise caution and leave Rakhine State.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also recently announced a major decision to fence the entire 1,643 km long India-Myanmar border. The move is expected to effectively end the free movement regime (FMR), which currently allows people living near the border to cross 16 km into each other's territory without documents.

The border passing through Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh currently operates under the FMR and was introduced in 2018 as part of India's Act East policy. Shah, in a social media post, reiterated the government's commitment to strengthening the nation's borders and outlined plans to build a fence along the entire Indo-Myanmar border. In addition, a patrol road will be built along the border to enhance surveillance capabilities.

The IEA's recommendations on Rakhine State are consistent with India's broader strategic move to strengthen border security, especially in light of escalating tensions in Myanmar. The country is grappling with mass protests demanding the restoration of democracy following a military coup on February 1, 2021. Notably, Rakhine State, like several other regions, has witnessed intense fighting between armed ethnic groups and the ruling junta since October the previous year.

The escalation of fighting has raised concerns in New Delhi, especially regarding the security of Manipur and Mizoram. With the Myanmar military resorting to airstrikes against opposition forces, the situation remains grim, prompting India to take proactive measures to protect its citizens and ensure the security of the border region.

Source: timesofindia