Burma, India Officials Discuss Disputed Border Demarcation

By Lawi Weng 9 January 2014

RANGOON — Burma and India held discussions on Wednesday to resolve outstanding differences over the demarcation of the border that separates India’s Manipur State and western Burma’s Sagaing Division, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said.

Deputy director-general Sein Oo said a Burmese delegation, comprising the military’s northern commander Gen. Tun Tun Naung and Foreign Affairs officials, met with an Indian delegation in Sagaing’s Tamu Township to discuss a disagreement over the construction of an Indian border checkpoint at border pillar No. 78.

Sein Oo said the construction activities began in mid-December and sparked a protest among some 500 Tamu Township residents, who had filed a complaint with local authorities.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Indian officials agreed to refrain from further construction work and continue discussions about the delineation of the border. “They told us at the meeting that they will not continue to build any more in areas where the border line is disputed,” said Sein Oo.

Burma’s government had complained to India about the new border checkpoint in December and May last year, according to state newspaper The New Light of Myanmar. The paper said the Indian project was halted on Jan. 2 and teams from India and Burma carried out a joint land survey in Tamu Township on Jan. 6.

A 1967 Burma-India border treaty established the current border, but both countries disagree about the location of several border pillars in the Kabaw Valley, according to the paper.

Sein Oo said both sides would cooperate to complete joint survey and delineate the disputed border line, although he provided few details of the plans. “We found that they have a wish to solve the problem. There will be no border tension between the two countries over the current dispute and we will try to find a compromise,” he said.

In recent months, other disagreements over demarcation of the border have gained attention from the Indian media, which have reported that the Manipur State government is upset over the alleged construction by the Burma Army of a border fence on territory in southern Manipur in August.

A delegation of all political parties in Manipur sent a memo to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sing in early December to demand that India’s central government investigate the accusations, The Times of India reported.