In a landmark event, Myanmar government on Wednesday officially opened the Indo-Myanmar international land border in a grand ceremony held at Tamu, Myanmar. Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population Permanent secretary U Aye Lwin and Consul General of India in Myanmar attended the opening ceremony.
The opening of the land border marked the abolishing of special land entry permission which was previously required for visitors entering the country via land routes. “This is a historic day for both the countries, a giant step in our bilateral relations and Act East policy,” said Nandan Singh Bahisora, Consul General of India, in Myanmar during the event.
According to official sources, the agreement on land border crossing was signed between the two countries at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar during the visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on May 11 last month.
Wednesday’s event not only opened land border point at Tamu-Moreh (India) but also Rikhawadar (Chin state) and Zowkhawthar (Mizoram).
The Consul General of India further said, “People from both the countries as well as third country, holding a valid passport and visa/e-visa can cross the land border. People can travel within the entire country and also can stay for the duration as specified in visa.”
Earlier, Indians travelling to Myanmar had to hire a licensed guide costing about 60 dollars a day in addition to the special land route permit from the authority.
The agreement has also given provision of a border pass for the people living within the border area to travel within 16 km of the border on both sides without a permit.
Additionally, both India and Myanmar have already taken up initiatives to improve road connectivity by undertaking two large projects, including the renovation of 69 bridges between Tamu and Kalay and the upgradation of road between Kalewa and Yargi. The projects are likely to be completed by 2020.
Bahisora said that the agreement would not only strengthen the relationship between the two countries but also enhance trade, tourism and bring socio-economic development.
R.K Shivchandra, the convener of Act East Policy Committee, said the Indo-Myanmar land border is the last border point to be officially opened in entire Southeast Asia.
“This is long cherished dreams of both the people of the countries particularly Manipur. We are very excited that now we can travel to other Southeast Asian countries easily,” he said.
Besides Shivchandra, Additional Chief Secretary of Manipur Suhel Akthar, Special Secretary Home Kh. Raghumani, officials of the Tengnoupal district administration, high-ranking officers from both state and paramilitary forces also attended the function.
An immigration office of Myanmar was also inaugurated by the dignitaries.
After the border was officially opened, officials from both sides also jointly inspected the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Moreh Town (Tengnoupal district), which is still under construction.