India, Bangladesh to strengthen border management

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) India and Bangladesh have decided to implement the Coordinated Border Management Plan in “letter and spirit” to curb the menace of trans-border crime, including smuggling of arms, drugs, and fake currency.

In a joint press statement here on Tuesday, Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) discussed various issues concerning border management during the 44th Border Conference being held in Dhaka.

BSF Director General K.K. Sharma and his Bangladesh counterpart Major General Abul Hossain jointly chaired the five-day conference, which began on February 18.

Hossain expressed grave concern over border firing and alleged killing of Bangladeshi nationals.

He emphasised the need for bringing the death toll to zero through exercise of extreme caution by the BSF and sensitising Indian nationals, the release said.

The Indian side, however, said that though “non-lethal strategy” has proved extremely successful in reducing deaths on the international border, it has also resulted in an alarming increase in attacks by criminals on BSF personnel.

Sharma said BSF personnel fire only in self-defence.

The BSF chief also sought BGB cooperation in stopping Bangladeshi nationals from crossing the International Border (IB).

“The BGB and the BSF will undertake increased coordinated patrols in areas vulnerable to cattle and drug smuggling, educating border population about the sanctity of IB and preventing criminals from crossing the IB,” it said.

Both sides also agreed to conduct joint spot verification and appraisal on major incidents or killings in bordering areas to reduce differences of opinion or understanding regarding any major incidents.

Sharma sought cooperation from the BGB to destroy hideouts of Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) in Bangladesh and safe release of Indian nationals whenever abducted by IIGs.

In response, the BGB chief said there are no IIG hideouts in Bangladesh.

He said Bangladesh does not allow her soil to be used by any entity or element hostile to any country.

The BSF chief also urged Bangladesh to expedite verification of nationality for early repatriation of Bangladeshi nationals lodged in Indian jails and correction

homes to ensure their early repatriation.

The statement said both officers decided to approach their respective ministries to increase the number of “border haats” and promote border tourism to help improve socio-economic condition of the border people.

–IANS

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