Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to Myanmar to push for better ties with the neighbouring country, officials of districts sharing the border on both sides met at Changlang in eastern Arunachal Pradesh to join hands in curbing arms smuggling and infiltration and improve border trade in the area.
Hosted by Changlang district deputy commissioner Chanchal Yadav, the one-day meeting also focused on other cross-border issues like law & order and drug trafficking and also activities of several insurgent groups of Assam and Nagaland in the area. The Myanmarese delegation was led by Ru San Kuye, chairman of the Naga Self-Administered Zone.
“While delegates from both sides agreed to increase cooperation between the law enforcement agencies at the district level to maintain peace and tranquility along the international border, they agreed for real-time intelligence sharing on the activities of insurgents, arms smugglers, drug traffickers and smugglers particularly of wildlife and wildlife products operating along the Indo-Myanmar border,” an official told The Indian Express from Changlang.
The Indian delegation that also had officials of security forces deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Changlang district, shared specific information about movement of insurgent groups like NSCN(K) and NSCN(IM) and ULFA and asked their Myanmarese to share intelligence in order to curb their activities.
The Indian officials also discussed the issue of citizens from both sides smuggling narcotics including opium during the three designated free-movement days of the month and asked their Myanmarese counterparts to take necessary action on their side. “The Myanmarese side said more roads are being planned to connect inaccessible areas in their territory which in turn will help curb smuggling as well as use of these areas by insurgent groups,” the official said.
Myanmar officials also requested the Indian officials to speed up construction of a Border Haat at Pangsau Pass inside Indian territory so that people from both sides could exchange various goods on a regular basis and in the process cut down smuggling. People from both sides are free to walk across the border at Pangsau Pass on the historic Stilwell Road (built during World War II) on three designated days — 10th, 20th and 30th of every month — to buy and sell 62 specific items. A formal Border Haat however is yet to be opened there.
While Myanmarese officials expressed willingness to buy agricultural machineries and construction materials from India through Pangsau Pass, Indian officials also agreed to arrange English language training for Myanmar officials deployed on border guard duties. On the request of Myanmarese delegates, the Indian side also agreed to train farmers on the other side on tea, rubber and cardamom plantation.