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MOREH | Aug 8 : In what could be termed as a landmark event, Myanmar government today has officially opened the Indo-Myanmar international land border in a grand ceremony held at Indo-Myanmar friendship bridge, Tamu, Myanmar.
The opening of the land border marked the abolishing of special land entry permission which was formerly required for visitors entering the country via land routes. “This is a historic day for both the countries, a long overdue process early waiting by people from both sides,” said Consul General of India, Nandan Singh Bahisora, in Myanmar during the event.
He said 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. Today’s event not only opened land border point at Tamu-Moreh (India) but also Rikhawadar (Chin state) and Zowkhawthar (Mizoram), he said.
He 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 for border pass for the people living within the border area to travel within 16 km of the border on both sides without a permit.
The Consul General of India informed that both the nations have already taken up initiatives to improve road connectivity by undertaking two large projects which include renovation of 69 bridges between Tamu and Kalay, upgradation of road between Kalewa and Yargi. The projects are likely to be completed by 2020.
Nandan Singh Bahisora felt that the agreement would not only strengthen the relationship but also enhance trade, tourism and brings socio-economic development for both the countries.
“This certainly is going to further strengthen our relations and also it will enable the people from both countries to cross the land border including for accessing health and education services. Surely, this is going to enhance the border trade, economic activity, Tourism, medical tourism, pilgrimage cultural exchange, people to people movement and social and economic interaction,” he said.
Convener of Act East Policy Committee, R.K Shivchandra said that the Indo-Myanmar land border is the last border point to be officially opened in entire Southeast Asia and that earlier it was supposed to be opened in 2015.
“This is long cherished dreams of both the people of the countries particularly Manipuris. We are very excited that now we can travel to other Southeast Asian countries easily,” he said.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population Permanent secretary U Aye Lwin and Consul General of India in Myanmar Nandan Singh Bahisora, attended the opening ceremony.
Additional chief secretary of Manipur, Suhel Akthar, special secretary Home, Kh. Raghumani, convener Act East Policy Committee, R.K Shivchandra, officials of the Tengnoupal district Administration, high ranking officers from both state and paramilitary forces etc attended the function.
An immigration office of Myanmar at the border point 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.