NEW DELHI: India on Thursday said the security situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is “worrisome” and indicated its concerns over the possible impact on the Indian consulate in Sittwe.
On Tuesday, India had asked all its citizens in the Rakhine state to leave the troubled region immediately in view of the deteriorating security situation.
“The security situation in the Rakhine state is worrisome. We issued an advisory for our citizens to leave Rakhine and told those planning to travel not to go there,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said at his weekly media briefing.
Jaiswal said he does not have information on the exact number of Indians living in Rakhine.
“We have a consulate in Sittwe. Security situation could have an impact on our consulate. We are looking at the situation and we will see how best to deal with it,” he said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday that the government decided to scrap the India-Myanmar Free Movement Regime (FMR).
“It is Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji’s resolve to secure our borders. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided that the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar be scrapped to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of India’s North Eastern States bordering Myanmar,” Shah said on X.
The announcement came two days after Shah said India had decided to fence the entire 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border.
Jaiswal said the situation along the Myanmar border is serious but declined to comment further as he referred to Shah’s remarks.
Myanmar has been witnessing wide-spread violent protests demanding restoration of democracy since the military seized power in the coup on February 1, 2021.
Rakhine state and many other regions have reported severe fighting between armed ethnic groups and the Myanmarese military since October last year.
The hostilities between the two sides saw a rapid spike since November in several key Myanmarese towns and regions near the border with India as well fuelling concerns in New Delhi over the possible ramifications for security of Manipur and Mizoram.
Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and shares its border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.
Last week, India had called for complete cessation of violence in the country and its transition towards inclusive federal democracy.