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Thursday, December 7, 2023

‘Deeply concerned’: MEA calls for peace as Myanmar clashes send thousands fleeing to India

The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that it was ‘deeply concerned’ by clashes in Myanmar. Thousands have crossed the international border into India this week as rebels launched fresh attacks against the Myanmar military. The anti-junta offensive remains underway at several locations in the other country. 

“We are deeply concerned with such incidents close to our border. Our position on the ongoing situation in Myanmar is very clear. We want secession of the violence and restitution situation or resolution of the situation through constructive dialogue. We reiterate our call for the return of peace, stability, and democracy in Myanmar…” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

The official said that local authorities have been “handling the situation appropriately on humanitarian grounds” as a growing number of Myanmar citizens take refuge in India.

More than 5,000 Myanmar nationals are believed to have entered Mizoram this week as fighting broke out in Chin state. Several people were also injured as the People’s Defence Force attacked two military bases in Chin state and prompted retaliatory airstrikes. The Myanmar nationals have since taken refuge in Mizoram’s Champhai district, joining the approximately 6,000 Myanmar refugees already living in the region.

Data from the Mizoram Home Department indicates that there were 31,364 Myanmar nationals living in different parts of Myanmar as of last week. The majority of them live in relief camps, while others are accommodated by their local relatives and some live in rented houses.

Reports quoting Indian officials however said that more than half of the estimated 5,000 refugees had begun returning home on Thursday. 

“Since Wednesday, we have not heard sounds of airstrikes or gunfire across the border. We presume the situation across Mizoram border in Myanmar is returning to normal, leading to most of the 5,000 refugees returning back,” James Lalrinchhana, the Deputy Commissioner of Champhai district in Mizoram, told The Associated Press.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 16 Nov 2023, 08:55 PM IST

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