The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday said it would scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar, keeping in mind the country’s internal security and to maintain the demographic structure of the north-eastern states bordering Myanmar.

The decision comes amid the exodus of Myanmar army personnel and its people to the north-eastern states through the porous border owing to fighting between rebel forces and the junta regime in the neighbouring country . Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande had said early last month more than 400 Myanmar Army personnel had sneaked into the country through the border in the last two months.

Home Minister Amit Shah in a post on X said his ministry took the step since “It is Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji’s resolve to secure our borders”. “Since the Ministry of External Affairs is currently in the process of scrapping it, MHA has recommended the immediate suspension of the FMR,” Shah stated.

The Home Minister had earlier said the entire 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border, stretching through Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, would be fenced, restricting free movement in the identified geographical areas of the two countries.

As per the FMR introduced in 2018 to facilitate India’s Act East policy, people residing close to the India-Myanmar border were allowed to venture 16 km into each other’s territory without documents.