Aizawl, May 12 (Calcutta Tube) India has decided to further tighten security along Mizoram’s international border with Myanmar and Bangladesh to check trans-border movement of terrorists and smugglers, officials said here Wednesday.
‘There are reports that northeast terrorists hiding in Bangladesh and Myanmar sometimes use Mizoram’s international borders as their corridors,’ an official of Mizoram’s home department told reporters.
‘Although Mizoram is the only state in the northeast free from any activities of separatist outfits, terrorists of other states are occasionally using the state’s border as safe passage,’ he said.
Sandwiched between Myanmar in the east and south and Bangladesh in the west, Mizoram has a 722-km international boundary of which it shares 404 km with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh. Most parts of the borders are in hilly terrain, remain unfenced and are porous.
Assam Rifles chief Lt Gen K.S. Yadava and Border Security Force (BSF) chief Raman Srivastava last week separately reviewed the India-Myanmar and India-Bangladesh borders in Mizoram.
‘Both the paramilitary chiefs also met Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, Governor M.M. Lakhera and top security officials and discussed strategies about tightening (security) of the state’s border with Myanmar and Bangladesh,’ the official said on condition of anonymity.
‘The General (Assam Rifles chief) is of the opinion that Mizoram is a model for peace and development in the northeast and would serve as a model for other disturbed states in the country. The history of Mizoram is intimately linked with the history of the Assam Rifles, who have been ‘Friends of the Hill People’ for 175 years,’ a Mizoram government statement said.
Meanwhile, a BSF official said that additional paramilitary troopers would be deployed along the India-Bangladesh border after intelligence reports alerted that armed infiltrators might prefer to sneak in through the Mizoram border as the barbed-wire fencing is almost complete in neighbouring Tripura and Assam.
BSF inspector-general (Assam-Meghalaya frontier) Prithvi Raj Singh said over telephone from Shillong that after Bangladesh launched an operation against northeast militants last year, the terrorists were shifting base from Bangladesh to Myanmar.
Quoting surrendered United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militants, the BSF officials said the northeast Indian guerrillas are now on the run.
‘It is quite natural that the extremists look for new pastures to continue their future actions,’ Singh added.
The four northeastern states of Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh together share a 1,643-km unfenced border with Myanmar while India has a 4,095-km-long border with Bangladesh.
A large portion of the border remains unfenced and porous.