The recent Indian government announcement to scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) and erect fencing along the Myanmar border has stirred up a hornet’s nest, with the powerful Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) voicing its emphatic opposition.

The NSCN-IM statement bristles with strong sentiment, portraying the Nagas as “indigenous people” with a distinct identity that transcends the “oppressively created” international borders drawn by India and Myanmar. This assertion underlines the group’s vision of a unified “Naga nation” spanning across the India-Myanmar divide.

The proposed fencing is depicted as a violation of Naga rights and a symbol of further division within the Naga community. The statement declares, “Nagas are one family,” and the fencing project is seen as an affront to this unity. It’s important to note that the Naga population is spread across Indian states like Nagaland, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh, and Myanmar’s Sagaing Region.

While opposing the border fencing, the NSCN-IM assures that it will manage illegal immigration within its own territory. The statement claims, “Naga themselves would control any illegal immigrant in Naga soil,” hinting at the group’s desire to maintain autonomy in this domain.

The NSCN-IM’s forceful opposition against the border fencing adds a layer of complexity to the situation. It is unclear how the Indian government will address these concerns, and whether negotiations or concessions might be offered to appease the Naga group. The potential for increased tensions and unrest along the border cannot be ruled out.