Dhaka, Dec 25 – India and Bangladesh have decided to conduct joint night patrols in vulnerable areas along the border in order to bring down frontier killings to zero. The two countries share a 4,096km-long international border.
The decision was taken at the four-day director general (DG)-level conference between Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and India’s Border Security Force (BSF) that ended on Friday in the northeastern Indian state of Assam’s capital Guwahati, with the signing of a Joint Record of Discussions (JRD).
At the conference, BGB chief Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam expressed his grave concern over the killings and thrashing of unarmed Bangladeshi nationals by BSF and Indian nationals in the bordering areas. He also urged his Indian counterpart to uphold human rights by making all out efforts to apprehend the criminals instead of killing them.
In response, the director general of BSF assured Maj Gen Md Shafeenul that all efforts would be made to significantly reduce border deaths in the near future, the BGB headquarters said in a release.
Moreover, both sides agreed to take extra precautionary measures along the border by increasing coordinated patrols, including intensifying public awareness campaigns, undertaking appropriate socio-economic developmental programmes in vulnerable areas and real-time information sharing, the statement said.
As the DG of BGB voiced his concern over the presence of few camps of Regional Parties of Chattogram Hill Tracts in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, his Indian counterpart reiterated Delhi’s ‘zero tolerance policy’ towards terrorism and assured him of appropriate action against such camps, if found.
Highlighting the importance of the Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) in curbing trans-border crimes, the BGB chief expressed his concern over smuggling of various types of drugs, firearms, contraband items, gold and cattle, and sought BSF’s cooperation to end the menace.
On his part, BSF chief Rakesh Asthana also expressed his concern over illicit drug trafficking and the consequent drug addiction among the youth on both sides, terming it a real danger that needs to be tackled effectively. Both sides also agreed to share real-time information and interrogation reports of traffickers for the benefit of both the border forces.
DG BGB also raised the issue of Indian nationals and BSF personnel often entering Bangladesh violating the existing rules, “which may entail misunderstanding and unpleasant situation between the two friendly border guard forces”. He sought the cooperation of BSF to sensitise the personnel for upholding the existing friendly ties between the two forces.
Recalling the joint statement on December 17 last between the two countries where the Indian Prime Minister assured to consider the request for 1.3km “Innocent Passage” through the river route along the Padma near Rajshahi district, the DG BGB requested Asthana to pursue it with the highest priority.
Both the delegation also reiterated their commitments to work jointly for maintaining peace and tranquillity at the border and also agreed to hold the next DG-level conference in Dhaka, preferably in April next year. – UNB