AIZAWL: Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga has urged the Centre to resume its peace mission in coup-hit Myanmar.
There have been requests from some quarters that India should broker peace in the wake of political crisis in Myanmar, an official said on Sunday.
Four Indian states Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh share over 1600 km long international border with Myanmar.
“We received requests from some quarters in Myanmar that India should broker peace in the coup hit country. This is a golden chance for our country to resume the peace mission we have begun in the past in order to restore peace in the neighbouring country,” Mizoram CM Zoramthanga told reporters in Aizawl.
He said that the Centre should negotiate with the military government and various ethnic underground groups in Myanmar to restore peace, which in turn will help in restoring democracy in the neighbouring country.
The Mizoram chief minister said that he was sent to Myanmar on a peace mission along with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval five years ago.
However, the peace process with the Myanmar military government and ethnic groups was aborted when Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy came to power in 2015, he said.
Mizoram CM Zoramthanga visited the national capital during September 3 and September 24 and met various leaders at the Centre, including President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the Myanmar political crisis and influx of refugees from the neighbouring country.
“During our visit to Delhi, our main subject was the Myanmar political issue. All the Central leaders whom I have met, including the President, were concerned about the Myanmar political crisis,” the Mizoram chief minister said.
He said, “I told the central leaders that India should take a fatherly step and resume the trade we have already started in the past in order to restore peace in Myanmar.”
The former rebel leader turned politician said that the ethnic underground groups operating in Myanmar are in favour of federation within the union of Myanmar and independence is not their main goal.
He said that when he was on a peace mission in Myanmar the military government was willing to grant federations to the ethnic groups.
The subsequent Aung San Suu Kyi government also did not object to granting federations to the ethnic groups, he said.
“It seems that peace cannot be established in Myanmar due to communication gaps between stakeholders, If India plays its role in the right time, restoring peace in the neighbouring state is possible,” he said.
Mizoram CM Zoramthanga further said he had also urged the Central leaders during his visit to the national capital that India should beef up security and intelligence units along Mizoram border with Bangladesh and Myanmar to check potential influx of Rohingya Muslims from both the two neighbouring countries.
Citing that Mizoram could be the main entry point of Rohingyas to the country, the chief minister said, “What we fear most is not the Rohingya Muslim entering the state as refugees but as terrorist because rich Arab countries and Muslim terrorist groups can help them due to the atrocities and expulsion they faced in Myanmar.”
He said that some Rohingya Muslims have been arrested in Mizoram in the recent past.
Mizoram shares 510 km border with Myanmar in the east and 318 km border with Bangladesh in the west.
While the Assam Rifles is guarding the Mizoram-Myanmar border, the Border Security Force (BSF) is guarding the Mizoram-Bangladesh border.
Zoramthanga said that he had also asked the Centre to deploy or reinforce complete Mizo battalions as paramilitary forces along with the Assam Rifles and BSF along the state border with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
He said that posting Mizo battalions would result in more efficient guarding to curb infiltration as Mizo personnel will easily identify foreigners better than the Assam Rifles and BSF personnel do.