New Delhi, February 7, 2024, Ruchita Bhatt
Amidst escalating tensions in Myanmar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has issued a directive, advising Indian citizens to refrain from traveling to the Rakhine state. The MEA emphasized the deteriorating security situation, disruptions in telecommunications, and severe shortages of essential commodities as key factors prompting the advisory.
- MEA Advisory: The MEA highlighted the deteriorating security situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and urged Indian citizens to avoid travel to the region. Additionally, Indian citizens currently residing in the Rakhine state have been advised to evacuate as soon as possible due to the precarious conditions on the ground.
- Concerns Expressed by India: Last week, India expressed concerns regarding the worsening situation in Myanmar and called for a swift resolution to the conflict. This prompted the MEA to issue the advisory, urging citizens to exercise caution and vacate the Rakhine state.
- Border Security Measures: Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently announced a significant decision to fence the entire 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border. This move aims to effectively close the Free Movement Regime (FMR) currently allowing border residents to travel 16 km into each other’s territory without documentation. Plans also include laying a patrol track along the border to enhance surveillance capabilities.
- Strategic Alignment: The MEA’s advisory regarding the Rakhine state aligns with India’s broader strategic move to bolster border security, especially in light of escalating tensions in Myanmar. The country has been grappling with widespread protests demanding the restoration of democracy since the military coup on February 1, 2021. The Rakhine state, along with other regions, has witnessed intense clashes between armed ethnic groups and the ruling junta since October of the previous year.
Concerns and Preparedness:
- Heightened hostilities in Myanmar have raised concerns in New Delhi, particularly regarding the security of Manipur and Mizoram.
- With the Myanmarese military resorting to airstrikes against opposition forces, the situation remains grim, prompting India to take proactive measures to safeguard its citizens and secure the border area.
As tensions continue to escalate in Myanmar, India remains vigilant and takes necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of its citizens, emphasizing the importance of caution and preparedness in the region.