MOREH, August 26: The state government has already informed the Union Ministry of External Affairs to pursue the matter of the border fencing row with the Myanmar authorities and conduct a joint survey by the two countries to bring an amicable solution at the earliest, Principal Secretary (Home) Dr J Suresh Babu told media persons during an inspection of the disputed areas of the border fencing at Moreh today.
Dr J Suresh Babu is also the chairman of the Indo-Myanmar Border Fencing Committee constituted by the state government to look into the ongoing border fencing row with Myanmar.
A team of the committee led by its chairman today inspected several disputed areas along the border at Moreh and nearby areas.
The team went on foot from Muslim village near Border Pillar Number 79 upto Govajang village inspecting the border and talked with the Govajang village chief on the problems of the villagers.
Further during the inspection, the team also visited disputed area, Haolenphai village and checked the stone marked as “Pillar 23” said to have been erected by the Myanmar authorities.
Later, the team inspected the materials stacked in the area by the neighbouring country’s army for the construction of a base camp at the area and another stone near the Tamil Sangam temple marked as “Pillar 21” purportedly by the Myanmar authorities though highly believed to be pillar number 78.
Addressing media persons, Dr J Suresh Babu said that the team had arrived at the border area under instructions from the state government to understand the views of the people of the border area on the present fencing issue.
He expressed that nine pillars along the Indo-Myanmar border remain unsettled at present.
The state government has already informed the Union Ministry of External Affairs to pursue the matter with the Myanmar authority and conduct a joint survey of the border, he said. However, the row could be solved only through a joint meeting of the two countries and one country alone cannot solve the issue, he continued.
The team also inspected the Govajang village located between Border Pillar 79 and 80 and where there is apprehension that around 15 houses will go on the Myanmar side once the border fencing is completed.
He further said that the people have a misconception regarding border fencing. Border fencing doesn’t mean the exact boundary, it is only a security fencing to stop illegal entry into the country by smugglers and other illegal elements, he said.
India wants a secure international boundary, he said before adding that under the international law, border fencing should be made 10 meter away from the exact border pillar.
At some places it is above 10 meter while at some it is made at exactly 10 meter away, he added.
Officially, 18 gates have been provided in between Border Pillar 79 and 81 for the villagers to conduct farming or other activities in Indian territory on the other side of the fencing, he said before adding that both India or Myanmar will not provide any restriction on such activities.
He further continued that Border Pillar Number 76 at Haolenphai and Pillar Number 78 at Moreh remain unsettled.
The issue cannot be settled unless the two countries sit together, he said.
Works taken up by the Myanmar authorities for the construction of a post at Haolenphai remains suspended following India’s interruption, he said and added that Myanmar is a friendly country and not an enemy.
When asked about a similar boundary issue at Ukhrul, he said that the state government will take actions after understanding the desires of the people of the area. The state government will never compromise on any issues regarding the territorial integrity of the state, Suresh Babu said.
A joint field visit is necessary if all such issues are to be addressed, he said.
During a recent Myanmar visit, the Indian Foreign Secretary had expressed the wish to address all such issues and to form a joint committee at the earliest, he said.
However, the Myanmar authorities are yet to get back, he said.
The Manipur boundary is guarded by the Assam Rifles based on the map provided by the survey of India, he said while declaring that the stones marked as Pillar 21 and 23 could be old Myanmarese pillars.
He further expressed his belief that the old stone marked Pillar Number 21 could be the new Pillar Number 78 and the other stone marked Pillar Number 23 could be the new Pillar Number 76.
He said at Haolenphai, the Myanmar villagers believe that Indian have entered into their territory, while Indians also believe that Myanmar villagers have entered into its territory.
Such issues should be solved by holding talks on the District Commissioner level and bringing it up at the government level, he said.
Today’s inspection was also participated by 26 Sector Assam Rifles DIG Brigadier Rajiv Mankotia, 9th AR CO Anadi Atriya, Chandel DC Chittaranjan, IG Intelligence KT Vaipheisu, ADC Moreh Robert Kshetrimayum, SP Chandel E Priyokumar and other officials.
Another team led by the Committee on protection of Land in Border Fencing, Manipur convenor Bojendro Nangomba and ICHAM president N Rajendro was also present during the inspection.