Myanmar army enters Manipur

After China, it is the turn of Myanmar to give India the blushes. Myanmarese troops crossed the border in Moreh on Thursday and are now prepared to set up a temporary camp at Holenphai village in Manipur's Chandel district, claiming the area lies within their country.


The Assam Rifles, which is guarding the India-Myanmar border, is yet to issue any official statement on the stunning development, but its jawans are said to have intensified patrolling in the Holenphai area. A source said the state government has informed the Centre.


The intrusion comes at a time when the Manipur government has decided to set up a committee to review the India-Myanmar border-fencing work in Chandel district, considering the public furore over it. The 10-km border fencing work taken up in Chandel has kicked up a storm with various social organizations and opposition parties saying a large chunk of land will fall in neighbouring Myanmar as a result of the exercise.


Manipur shares a 398-km border with Myanmar.


The Myanmarese army has initiated the ground work for setting up a temporary platoon base camp at Holenphai village, 3 km south of Moreh police station close to international border pillar number 76, said village authorities. The state government has already planned to develop a new township at Holenphei to boost Indo-Myanmarese commercial activities.


Taking into account the report made by Lalkholun Haokip, chief of Holenphai, Moreh additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Robert Singh Kshetrimayum, along with two police officers, went to inspect the site on Thursday.


The Myanmarese troops were found clearing the ground for setting up their temporary base camp, a source said, adding that Manipur officials called the CO of Myanmar Army's 87 Light Infantry to get his response. The ADC then pursued the Myanmarese CO with a request to halt the work until a final settlement is reached by the higher authorities of the two countries. Pointing out that the area is 10 metres away from the border pillar, the ADC urged the Myanmarese officer to meet his Assam Rifles counterpart stationed in Moreh town.


The Myanmarese CO told the Moreh ADC that Holenphai falls within Myanmar territory, for which they are setting up a camp. He said unless instructed otherwise by his higher authorities, he will not halt work.


An Assam Rifles officer said the matter has not been brought to the notice of the paramilitary force.


The Times of India