On The Border


A group of refugees has left the Mae Ra Ma Luang camp on the Thai-Burmese border to return to Karen State, saying conditions in the camp had become intolerable.
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The busy Chinese border town of Ruili is home to a large Myanmar community, many of whom are Muslims who have rebuilt their lives after fleeing discrimination and violence.
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Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday ruled out withdrawal of Assam Rifles from Indo-Myanmar border and its replacement with another paramilitary force, saying no such decision has been taken yet.
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In Mandalay Region, where drought and failed harvests have pushed many farmers out of business, another industry is thriving, as China’s demand for human hair has turned entire villages into centres of trade and repair.
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Myanmar’s border trade picked by over 500 million U.S. dollars in fiscal year 2015-2016 as compared with previous year, according to the Ministry of Commerce on Monday.
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Four people have been arrested at Mae La refugee camp on Burma’s border with Thailand for allegedly killing a policeman.
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The thriving illegal business in gold across Myanmar’s porous borders is likely to continue unchecked until the government legalises trade of the raw material, said traders and industry sources.
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The Bangladeshi embassy in Yangon has denied a statement by the Tatmadaw that the two sides are holding talks over how to coordinate actions against the Arakan Army, after the group claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on Myanmar’s military last week.
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Monitoring of key crossing points along the Myanmar-China border by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals a sharp downturn in the volume of illegal timber being smuggled between the two countries during the past six months, the EIA said on its website on 7 March.
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Trade across India’s northeastern land border with Myanmar has come to a halt, according to Surinder Singh Patheja, general secretary of the Moreh Border Trade Chamber of Commerce.
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Thai authorities seized a stash of smuggled weapons in the border town of Mae Sot over the weekend, arms which sources claim could have been bound for one of Burma’s ethnic armies or for gangs operating in the area.
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Smuggling gold from Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore by flight-hopping couriers now appears to have become passe, with customs officials discovering that the yellow metal is entering India by land from Myanmar.
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A new shipping route from Qinzhou Port in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to Myanmar has been launched, sources with Guangxi Beibu Gulf Int. Port Group said Sunday.
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This article is part of “Southeast Asia: Refugees in Crisis,” an ongoing series by The Diplomat featuring exclusive articles from scholars and practitioners tackling Southeast Asia’s ongoing refugee crisis. All articles in the series can be found here.
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Myanmar and Thailand discussed on Monday bilateral cooperation to prevent and solve cross-border haze, as the smog problem has affected people’s health and cross-border tourism for several years.
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Last week, India and Myanmar inked an agreement to facilitate coordinated patrols among them.

On February 16, the navies of the two countries signed the standard operating procedure (SOP) for India-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR) at the Tri-Service Headquarters in Port Blair at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands following the fourth iteration of their coordinated patrols. The agreement was signed by Commodore Atul Anand VSM from the Indian Navy and Commodore Aung Zaw Hlaing from the Myanmar Navy in the presence of Gautam Mukhopayhaya, India’s ambassador to Myanmar.
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Flows of Indian white sugar to Myanmar, a gateway for smuggling into China, are slowing down, while Brazilian sugar is becoming more competitive due to cheaper freight.
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Unity among the Karen people was the theme in nearly all of the ethnic leaders’ speeches on the recent occasion of Karen Revolution Day. It was estimated that over 10,000 Karen people from Burma, Thailand and the rest of the world gathered to celebrate the event.
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Myanmar has arranged security plans to stop illegal entry from Bangladesh, said Colonel Thit San, head of Rakhine State police.
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Who would ever have imagined it – singing karaoke, dancing and joking. This was not some theatre vaudeville event but the closing ceremonies of the bleak, humourless, military-dominated parliament of Myanmar before yielding to a largely democratically elected new parliament.
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