A Rich History Along the India-Myanmar Border

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Maybe of interest to some of you - a Special Report by "The Irrawaddy" newspaper - By NYEIN NYEIN 7 June 2018

IMPHAL/MOREH, MANIPUR STATE, India — Meitei (Kathae), Kuki and Naga tribes are familiar names to Myanmar people, as well as being included on Myanmar’s list of 135 ethnic groups. They live along the India-Myanmar border, primarily in Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh states in northeast India. In Manipur, the Meitei are the majority among a population of more than 250,000, including Naga and Kuki tribes. Manipur is regarded as “little India,” because of its rich tribal cultures. Locals also refer to it as the gateway to Southeast Asia, due to its border with Myanmar.

As a democratic country, India hosts a rich diversity of tribes, religions and cultures, and its states have some administrative power. Despite being recognized as scheduled tribes – or historically disadvantaged groups – in India’s Constitution, many groups in the northeast, especially the Naga and Meitei, have fought for sovereignty for more than 70 years.

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The Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge seen from the India side. Copyright: Nyein Nyein / The Irrawaddy

The Naga and Meitei rebels have been in frequent conflict with Indian security forces, lending to unusually strict security in the state. The 12 Assam Rifles paramilitary force, police and the India Army have all been involved in handling security issues in Manipur State. When entering its capital of Imphal, the armed forces are noticeable everywhere, causing a feeling of unease for outsiders. However, locals have become familiar with the state of affairs and it doesn’t seem to faze them.

The Irrawaddy reporters visited Imphal and Moreh, a border trading town adjacent to Myanmar’s Tamu in Sagaing Region, in early June and took these photos to share with our readers.

More information and quite a few pictures can be found here: A Rich History Along the India-Myanmar Border
 
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