India reportedly plans $3.7 billion border fence with Myanmar

International Desk

Published: March 27, 2024, 05:55 PM

India reportedly plans $3.7 billion border fence  with Myanmar

Photo: Reuters

India is set to embark on a massive endeavor, allocating approximately $3.7 billion to fortify its 1,610-km border with Myanmar over the next decade. The move aims to curb smuggling and illicit activities along the porous frontier, as reported by Reuters, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Earlier this year, New Delhi announced its intention to erect a fence along the border and terminate the longstanding visa-free movement policy for citizens residing along the border areas with Myanmar. The decision was motivated by national security concerns and the imperative to preserve the demographic composition of India‍‍`s northeastern region.

A government committee, convened earlier this month, has greenlit the budget for the fencing project. However, final approval rests with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‍‍`s cabinet, according to the anonymous source, who declined to be named due to lack of authorization to speak to the media.

Requests for comments from the Prime Minister‍‍`s office and key ministries, including Home Affairs, Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Information and Broadcasting, remained unanswered at the time of reporting.

While India moves forward with its border fortification plans, Myanmar has yet to issue a formal response to the proposed fencing initiative.

Following the military coup in Myanmar in 2021, a significant influx of civilians and military personnel has sought refuge in Indian states with shared ethnic and familial ties. This migration has raised concerns in New Delhi about the potential for communal tensions spilling over into Indian territories.

Moreover, some Indian officials have pointed to the porous border as a contributing factor to the volatile situation in Manipur, a northeastern state neighboring Myanmar. Manipur has been grappling with internal strife resembling a civil war for nearly a year, primarily between two ethnic factions, one of which shares ancestral links with Myanmar‍‍`s Chin tribe.

In addition to erecting the border fence, the committee of senior Indian officials has endorsed plans to construct parallel roads alongside the barrier and 1,700 km of feeder roads connecting military installations to the border, as per the insider.

The ambitious fencing project, coupled with road infrastructure development, comes at a significant cost, estimated at nearly 125 million rupees per kilometer. This expenditure surpasses the budget allocated for the border fence along the India-Bangladesh frontier constructed in 2020, attributed to the challenging hilly terrain and the incorporation of advanced technology to deter intrusions and corrosion.

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