India Says It Has a Border Crisis. Christians Say the Solution Will Divide Them.

The government plans to close its porous border with Myanmar to boost security, separating ethnic groups that straddle the boundary.

Ngamreichan Tuithung runs a Christian boarding school that sits right at the border of India’s Manipur state and Myanmar. Amazing Grace Mission School is based in Wanglee Market, a small Indian town, and serves around 150 students from Myanmar and 6 from India.

Since Myanmar’s 2021 coup, the school has become a safe haven for parents wanting to send their children away from the violence of the war raging on in Myanmar. To Tuithung, it’s an opportunity to share with students and parents “about God’s love and how God is taking care of us.”

For decades, some parents in Myanmar (also known as Burma) have been able to easily send their kids to school in India, thanks to a government policy that allows citizens of either country living within 10 miles of the border to freely enter the other country without a visa. Many tribal communities share ethnic ties, familial bonds, and a way of life transcending territorial boundaries. Tuithung, who is from the Naga ethnic group, grew up in India but has many relatives in Myanmar. Because of their close ties, he can speak Burmese and visits them often.

However, all this will change as the Indian government proceeds with its decision to close the international border between India and Myanmar, which shares boundaries with four Indian states: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram. India’s home minister Amit Shah says the action is needed to “ensure the internal security” and “to maintain the demographic structure” of northeastern India as the war in Myanmar continues. Plans include constructing a fence and implementing a surveillance system.

Tuithung believes that even with tightened borders, the government will provide …

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