India does not want Burmese refugees on its territory, which it considers to be “illegal” migrants, despite the drama that is playing out on the other side of the border. Since the military coup of 1er February, which effectively overthrew the head of the civilian government, Aung San Suu Kyi, around 3,000 Burmese, including police officers and their families, refusing to obey the order to shoot at the militants, reportedly fled the repression of the junta towards Mizoram and the three other Indian states bordering Burma – Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Most are hosted in villages and receive help from residents and local NGOs. Burma asks the Indian authorities to expel them. The two countries share 1,643 kilometers of border.
Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah wrote to officials in northeastern India on March 10 urging them to take appropriate action, control “The illegal influx” Burmese in India, identify migrants and initiate expulsion processes without delay.
In the northeast of the country, the position of Narendra Modi’s government arouses the anger of residents who often belong to the same ethnic group as the refugees, share the same religion, Christianity, and the same dialect. The head of government of Mizoram, Pu Zoramthanga, representative of a party which defends the Mizo community, pleads for the reception and the assistance to the Burmese and considers the communication of the ministry of the interior unacceptable. He sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 18.
A “balanced and constructive role”
“The Mizoram, he is moved, cannot remain indifferent to their suffering, India cannot close its eyes to this humanitarian crisis which is unfolding before our eyes, in our own backyard. “ He urged the government to change its foreign policy, to provide food and shelter for the refugees. “I don’t know the exact number. But they are our brothers and our sisters ”, he told reporters.
New Delhi maintains a balancing act with regard to Burma, torn between its desire not to cut ties with Naypyidaw and that of not arousing tensions in the northeast. Since the 1990s, it has indeed relied on the generals of Rangoon to fight against the insurrectionary separatist and independence movements in this region. On the other hand, New Delhi fears that this cooperation will breathe new life into the anti-Indian insurgencies in the northeast.
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