Burmese community in India

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Burmese community in India
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Mizoram , Manipur , Delhi , Chennai
Burmese · English · Hindi
Buddhism · Christianity · Islam · Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Burmese diaspora

The Burmese community in India consists of refugees, immigrants and expatriates from Burma as well as Indian citizens of Burmese ancestry.


The Burmese refugee population in India is overwhelmingly from the Chin ethnic minority group, with smaller Kachin, Rakhine, and Bamar populations as well.[1]

Migration history[edit]

Burma has been entrenched in political and armed conflict between the repressive ruling military regime, political opponents, and ethnic groups - resulting in the displacement of over 3.5 million people. India being a neighboring country hosts a large and growing number of 100,000 Burmese refugees.[2]

Chin refugees have been leaving Burma for over four decades to escape persistent human rights abuses committed by the Burmese army.[1] Many experts believe that abuses became increasingly systematic and serious after the 1988 uprising in Burma, and this date does signal a growth in the numbers of refugees in India. However, there is also a sizable community of Chin refugees in India that have resided in the country since the 1970s who played an important role in helping refugee communities adjust to their new surroundings.


Burmese refugees in India live primarily in two places: the Northeast states of Mizoram and, to a lesser extent, Manipur, and the capital city of New Delhi. Since India does not officially recognize Burmese as refugees, it is difficult to get a firm grasp on how many Burmese live in the country.[1]

Estimates for the Northeast, where the refugee population is predominantly Chin, range from 50,000 to 100,000. UNHCR India has registered between 3,000 and 4,000 Burmese living in Delhi, also primarily Chin, and estimates that over 600 Burmese are finding their way to Delhi each month.


While India generally tolerates the presence of Burmese refugees, they do not afford them any legal protection, leaving them vulnerable to harassment, discrimination, and deportation as the country is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, nor does it have a domestic legal code to identify and protect refugees.[1]

Without any formal recognition as refugees, the Chin community in Delhi suffer numerous challenges. Because they look different from the local population, the Chin are easily targeted for discrimination as foreigners. The inability of many Chin refugees to communicate in either English or Hindi also subjects them to prejudice and daily hardship. Women refugees in particular are vulnerable to extensive assault and harassment in Delhi.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "India: Close the Gap for Burmese Refugees", Refugees International, 12 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Upliftment of the Burmese Refugee community by students from IIT Delhi", indian express .com, 7 June 2011.