As the society is marching towards modernization, more felonious acts are taking its pace. Smuggling, human trafficking, extortion, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual violence, ethnic cleansing etc are some transgression that are present in developed to underdeveloped nations. Insurgency and human trafficking are such two acts that both India and Myanmar needs to put joint effort to curb it in the region. Today, the insurgency in North Eastern India is one of the important drivers for India to engage Myanmar and it is also a threat to India’s internal security.
India has a long border with Myanmar which runs for nearly 1643 kilometers alongside the states of Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. The insurgency problem in this region is not new and has been in existence since the early years of Indian independence. Currently there are at least eight insurgent or militants groups/outfit in the area which have been operating from the Indian and Myanmar territory. It is believed that these groups have received financial, logistic and military support allegedly from external sources in South Asia and also Southeast Asia. They have established save heavens with the convenience of the sympathetic groups and communities in the neighborhood. The Indian security forces have conducted several counter insurgency operations but the insurgents have managed to escape to neighboring areas where the law enforcement agencies are either weak or reluctant.
However there have been attempts to flush out these insurgents from Myanmar. In order to bring peace and stability in both the nations, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between India and Myanmar in 2014 that called for exchange of information and coordination between their armed forces for border security to check illegal trespassing. Hence, the insurgency trouble by these groups in the North Eastern region cannot be controlled effectively without the help of Myanmar. In the past, several efforts have been put by Myanmar to flush out these insurgents. For instance in November 1991, the Myanmar military conducted raids against Manipuri rebels bases and arrested 192 insurgents including UNLF chief Rajkumar Meghen.
The drugs from Myanmar and the arms from Thailand are smuggled to the Indian insurgent groups from Tamu and a few other places on the Indo-Myanmar border. Hence, Myanmar help is very much required to stop this traffic. Human trafficking for sex and labor industry is escalating in India and Myanmar. Displaced Kachin women and girls on the China-Burma border are extremely vulnerable to sex trafficking; as are the Rohingya Muslim women who have been rendered stateless. Those who flee from Myanmar for safety or economic reasons are often looped into trafficking rings on Thai or Malay fishing boats or factories. But the international chairs especially the US, is turning its face from the trafficking since most of the shrimps and canned tuna in the US comes from Thailand’s trafficking –driven fishing industry.
Human trafficking remains a significant problem in India too. Thousands of children per year are subjected to forced labor as factory workers, domestic servants, sex worker, beggars and agricultural workers and have also been used as armed combatants by some terrorist and insurgent groups. The children are mostly trafficked through Indian states like Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and China, from where the perpetrator of the racket receives a heavy amount. It is essential for a prosperous association that stringent initiatives are taken to prevent insurgency and curb human trafficking through the border areas of India and Myanmar.
The political transition towards a democratic system in Myanmar has acted as a catalyst and provided an opportunity for India to its neighbor more intimately and therefore both the countries are now holding regular border liaison meeting to keep an eye on the illicit acts like human and drug smuggling.