Border Area Development


Border Area Development
   A policy adopted by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1989 after the military government negotiated cease-fires with breakaway ethnic components of the Communist Party of Burma. The cease-fire groups, of which the largest is the United Wa State Army (UWSA), requested economic assistance from the government, and a "Central Committee for the Development of Border Area and National Races" was established to this end in May 1989. In September 1992, a cabinet-level agency, the Ministry for Progress of Border Areas and National Races, was established. In 1994 the SLORC published a "Border Areas Development Master Plan," which set targets for a three-year (1993-1994 to 1995-1996) and two four-year (19961997 to 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 to 2003-2004) plans. Border Area Development was the responsibility of Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt and the Military Intelligence network he commanded. Within the top ranks of the Tatmadaw, this situation generated some friction because regular Army commanders resented the "soft" line Khin Nyunt took toward the cease-fire ethnic armed groups, many of whom had engaged the Burmese army in pitched battles before 1989. Following the purge of Khin Nyunt in October 2004, the future of Border Area Development is unclear.
   The Border Areas (largely coterminous with the colonial-era Frontier Areas, but also including parts of Tenasserim [Tanintharyi] Division and Mon State) have been divided into 19 regions:
   • Kachin Special Region No. 1 Padaung Region
   • Kachin Special Region No. 2 Kayah Region
   • Kokang Region Kayin (Karen) Region
   • Wa Region Mon Region
   • Mawpha Region Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) Region
   • Kachin Northeast Region Rakhine (Arakan) Region
   • Keng Tung (Kyaingtong) Region Chin Region
   • Shan Region Kabaw Valley Region, and
   • Palaung Region Naga Region
   • Pa-O Region
   Apart from economic development, including exploitation of natural resources and the construction of roads and bridges, a major goal of border area development has been eradication of opium poppy cultivation, especially in the Wa and Kokang regions of northeastern Shan State near the border with China. Foreign aid from the United Nations, Japan, South Korea, and other sources has been used for these projects, including Japanese support for opium crop substitution in Kokang. Critics of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) say that Border Area Development is largely "window dressing," designed to improve the government's global image, but some observers believe the programs are having a major impact in areas that, before the 1990s, had known nothing but war for decades.
   See also State Peace and Development Council, Internal Dynamics.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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