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Indo- Myanmar border trade stopped

Indo-Myanmar border trade stopped
Imphal, April 22.

For over a fortnight the bilateral legalized border trade between India
and Myanmar has come to halt since police and army in India stopped
import of foreign goods in protest against the shifting of the market
from Prem Nagar in India to Tamu in Myanmar.

Angry Indian traders had imposed an economic blockade in protest and now
police in Chandel district bordering Myanmar are not allowing foreign
goods into India. As a result prices of all items have goon beyond the
reach of the common people.

Officials fear that the agreement on the legalization of border trade
will not be renewed after its expiry later this year.

Indications are that unless traders in Myanmar agree to once again shift
the business to Prem Nagar there will be no trade. For several decades,
Myanmarese nationals had been  coming to Moreh, the smugglers' town in
Manipur bringing all sorts of foreign goods. A few thousands of south
Indians deported from Myanmar were staying at Moreh to carry on the

In the morning these businessmen bought foreign goods wholesale, and
sold them to small time smugglers and traders from Imphal. They made
huge profits in the process. However, once the border trade was
legalized Myanmarese asked to be permitted to sell goods directly to
Indian traders and smugglers and not through the South Indian middlemen.

These middlemen then launched some agitation making the Manipur
Government realize that shifting the market to Tamu about 10 km inside
Myanmarese territory was not in India's interests. There is no policing
of the 10 km long stretch of  the jungle rout from Tamu to Moreh making
it dangerous for smugglers and traders traversing the path.

Beside shifting the market from Moreh where the under world business
flourished from the late 50's is not a part of bilateral agreement.
Because of the untenable condition imposed by the Myanmarese government
it seems India has also retaliated.

All these years the business had been in terms of millions of rupees
daily since heroin, arms and other contraband were clandestinely

It is likely that Myanmar will agree to the restoration of business at
Moreh and Prem Nagar since the country is suffering having financial
losses daily. However, military officials in charge of the border trade
told traders to bear with the "passing phase".

The Hindu (Indian News Paper)
April 23, 1997.