India should negotiate with Myanmar military, ethnic groups to restore peace: Mizoram CM
Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga has said that India should negotiate with military authorities in trouble-torn Myanmar and various ethnic groups there to restore peace in the neighbouring country.
India shares over 1,600-km-long international border with Myanmar.
"We have received requests from some quarters of Myanmar that India should broker peace in the country where the military has seized power. This is a golden opportunity for our country to resume talks we have done in the past to restore peace there," Zoramthanga told reporters here soon after he arrived from Delhi on Saturday.
The chief minister said he was sent to Myanmar on a peace mission along with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval a few years ago. However, the peace negotiation 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.
Zoramthanga was in the national capital during the September 3-24 period and met President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah among others 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 met, including the president, were concerned about the crisis in the neighbouring country."I told them that India should take a fatherly step and resume the trade we had started in the past to restore peace in Myanmar. The Centre should negotiate with the military government and various ethnic groups there," Zoramthanga said.
Over 30,000 Myanmar nationals have taken shelter in different parts of Mizoram since the military junta seized power in that country in February last year, official sources said. The refugees mostly from Chin state are staying at relief camps, while some others live with their local relatives. The former rebel leader-turned-politician claimed that the ethnic groups operating in Myanmar are "in favour of federation within the Union of Myanmar and independence is not their main goal".
He also said that when he had earlier gone to Myanmar on a peace mission, the military government was then willing to grant federations to the ethnic groups. Zoramthanga also stated that he had urged the central leaders during his visit to the national capital that India should beef up security and intelligence units along the Mizoram border with Bangladesh and Myanmar to check the potential influx of Rohingya Muslims from both the neighbouring countries.
Noting that Mizoram could be an entry point of Rohingyas to the country, the chief minister said, "What we fear most is not the Rohingya Muslims entering the state as refugees but as terrorists."Mizoram shares 318-km-long border with Bangladesh.The Assam Rifles is guarding the Mizoram-Myanmar border, while the Border Security Force (BSF) takes care of the state's boundary with Bangladesh.