India-Bangladesh border meet on terrorism, arms, drug trade

Border guards of India and Bangladesh are meeting on November 17 at Tamabil in Sylhet district of Bangladesh to discuss bilateral issues for better border management and maintaining peace at the ground level, official sources have said.

Published : 10 Nov 2014, 10:00 AM
Updated : 10 Nov 2014, 10:00 AM

“Beside dismantling camps of Indian militants in Bangladesh territory, arms and drug smuggling, fake currencies and border crimes among other issues are on the agenda. Besides strategies to tackle the menaces and enhance coordination between the two border guards at the ground level will also be discussed,” said a senior Border Security Force (BSF) official.

“At least 55 camps of northeast India’s militants are still functional in different parts of Bangladesh especially in the CHT area opposite to Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam’s borders with that country.”

The militant outfits of India’s north-eastern region those still have camps in Bangladesh include National Liberation Front of Tripura, National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) and United Liberation Front of Asom.
Recently, Bangladesh’s elite force, RAB during search operations has recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition hidden under concrete chambers and unused well at various spots in the Satchharhi forest area of Habiganj district, once the headquarters of the almost disseminated banned All Tripura Tiger Force, which had close relation with the ULFA.
“We appreciated the recent incidents of recovery of huge quantity of arms and ammunition after Bangladesh security forces undertook occasional crackdowns against the northeast India militants, but at the same time we are also concern that Bangladesh territory has been used by some terrorists for moving towards the jungles of neighbouring Myanmar,” the BSF official said.
Inspector General (IG) of three frontiers of BSF in northeast India – Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram-Cachar – would hold a four-day long border management meeting.
Meghalaya frontier inspector general of BSF Sudhesh Kumar would led the Indian team while Bangladesh delegation would be led by BGB’s Additional Director General (North-eastern region) Mohammad Latiful Haider.
Senior officials of India’s home ministry and Narcotics Control Bureau would also present in the meeting.
“Smuggling of arms and drugs and using north-eastern states as corridors for their illegal hauling would also be discussed in the meeting. We would ask the BGB officials to take stringent steps to prevent such clandestine trading,” the BSF official added.
He said that the BSF and BGB troopers are now holding coordinated patrolling along the border and the meeting would discuss about intensifying such joint patrolling in the sensitive and porous borders.
The official added that: “In the recent past Bangladesh security forces have seized huge fake Indian currencies (FIC) and arrested a large number of people involved in circulating it. We shall ask the BGB officials to share the information gathered about the fake currencies and their roots with us.”
In the Sylhet meeting, the BSF would also propose to the BGB to hold mutual cultural and sports events in both sides of the borders and adjoining cities and villages as part of the confidence building measures.
The official said that the BSF would also ask their BGB counterparts to take effective measures to prevent attacking BSF troopers and Indian villagers by the bordering people of Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, BGB is likely to raise the issue of killing of Bangladeshi nationals by Indian villagers particularly in the Tripura frontier where six persons on suspicion of being cattle-lifters and burglars were killed this year including three during the last fifteen days.
Bangladesh has also been repeatedly raising the issue of smuggling of contraband through the north-eastern states.
Four Indian north-eastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam shares some 1880 km border of the total 4096 km India-Bangladesh border.
The mountainous terrain, dense forests, rivers and other hindrances make the unfenced borders porous and vulnerable, enabling illegal immigrants and intruders cross over without any hurdle.
India is erecting a fence and putting up flood lights along the entire India-Bangladesh border to check trans-border movement of militants, prevent infiltration, smuggling and check border crimes.