Indo-Myanmar border harmony impresses US officials

IMPHAL, 14th Oct: Unlike international borders in other parts of the world, which are characterised by huge gates and heavy military presence, the border towns of India and Myanmar give a unique feel to visitors, who often see the border as a town of a single country, said US Embassy in India’s minister counsellor Robert Garverick.
Speaking to The People’s Chronicle during his visit to the state, Garverick confided that relation between the two countries and free movement of citizens from both sides are the most pleasant experience he had while visiting Moreh.
Garverick said that he had been to Wagah border of India and Pakistan, and the border gate of India and Bangladesh in Tripura. Military personnel of both countries with high rise caps or turbans could be seen conducting drills raising their feet high behind large border gates. People of both countries come to see those drills giving a feeling of support to the military personnel.
However, the situation in Moreh is totally different. No large gates, military drills and military personnel could be seen there. People share a good bond without any difference in nationality while having free movement on both sides. Such close relationship between the two neighbouring countries and their people would help in improving tourism and trade ties between them, he opined.
In another development, information has been received here that the number of Indian tourists visiting Myanmar has increased significantly since the border land route was opened on August 8 this year.
As per report from Myanmar Tourism authority, the number of Indian tourists in Myanmar has reached an average of 3500 per month. Of them, around 200 to 400 Indians enter the country by road through Moreh. In the last eight months, as many as 28,567 Indian tourists visited Myanmar showing a sharp increase of 5 per cent as compared to last year’s record.
At the same time, Buddhist monks from Myanmar are willing to visit India in the light of the improving economy of Myanmar.
With around 54 million people of Myanmar raising their status to middle class families, they are now able to visit other countries. In such a situation, visa on arrival at the border gates has become a necessary facility in order to increase number of tourists between the two countries. Besides, it will help in boosting regional tourism.
A Manipuri tourist, who recently visited Myanmar, expressed the need for developing the immigration office at Moreh to meet the emerging trend of tourism. It is a pity that the immigration office located within the ICP complex at Moreh has not been computerised till date in this age of information technology. Entering details of tourists manually is not only time consuming but also discourage many. Even though the ICP complex was constructed to accommodate modern facilities, improper maintenance has made the complex one of the dirtiest places in the border town.
On the other hand, verification of each and every tourist at the Indian Army post located between Moreh Market and ICP complex is another reason for deterring tourists from visiting the country. The army officials can always collect information about the tourists from the immigration office without causing inconvenience to them. The authority concerned should look into the matter and take up necessary measures to ease off such inconveniences, the state tourist opined.

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