With India looking to completely seal the Indo-Bangla border in Assam soon, a top Bangladeshi security commander has said his country has decided to erect a barbed wire fence along the border with India and Myanmar.
Director General of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Bangladesh’s border guarding force, Major General Aziz Ahmed told a visiting group of Indian journalists here that his government has already approved a project to have a 282 km road along the border it shares with India and Myanmar.
While India borders Bangladesh from three sides (4,096 km), it shares a small 271 km border with Myamnar on its eastern flank.
“Our government, in principle, has agreed to have barbed wire fencing along the borders with India as well as Myanmar. In principle, it has also been decided to have link roads all along the border like India is having which facilitates BSF activities and those of the Myanmarese border guarding forces,” the BGB chief said while speaking via video-link at the headquarter of BGB’s south-west region here from his office in Peelkhana in Dhaka.
He said it was “unfortunate” that these “two basic needs” of having a barbed wire fence and roads has not been developed on the Bangladeshi side till now. Ahmed said these projects are under “active consideration” of his government.
Ahmed made the remarks while replying to a question where he was asked what was Bangladesh’s response to the India which had recently said that the Indo-Bangla border in Assam will be fully sealed by June, 2017 and later all along.
“You would understand that all these things require huge amounts of money…but the government has already approved a project for 282 km where roads along with barbed wire fence will be erected and possibly that will start from the Myanmarese side,” Ahmed said.
He said as India has already raised fence along 79 per cent of the Indo-Bangla border, it “indirectly helps” his country in checking cross-border crimes.
The DG stated that in a large number of cases where BSF approaches them for construction of fencing along the border, they give a “prompt consent” except in few instances where the construction is very close to the zero line and there are issues involved.
“After all, Indian fencing helps us too,” he reiterated.
The top commander said the two border guarding forces are also working to create a database of habitual offenders active along the Indo-Bangla frontier as he accepted that this was a “weak” point in ensuring effective border security and trans- border movement of terrorists and criminals was a “serious concern” for them.
The BGB chief, who will lead a delegation to New Delhi for the bi-annual DG-level talks with their counterparts Border Security Force (BSF) beginning October 30, also said he has given “clear instructions” to his men to crackdown on cross-border cattle smuggling incidents after the Indian establishment ordered a complete clampdown on this criminal activity sometime back.
“We don’t want Indian cattle into Bangladesh. I can say we have become self sufficient over the years in food grains that we are exporting it now…a day will come when we will export cattle. Our main concern and priority is to stop killing of Bangladeshi nationals by BSF.
“More than 95 per cent of border killing is due to cattle smuggling. This issue will surely be discussed during the DG level talks that will take place soon,” he said.
The DG expressed his strong disapproval on the killing of Bangladeshi citizens in BSF firing and said such situations can be negated without killing a person.
“Our soldiers are also attacked by smugglers (like BSF) and we use lethal weapons…but we don’t kill them,” he said.
A BGB data said while 21 Bangladeshis have been killed till September this year along the Indo-Bangla border, the figures for the previous years stood at 45 (2015) and 40 (2014).
Ahmed denied existence of any camps of Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) on their soil after BSF handed them over various dossiers in this regard in the past saying there has been “no signs of any hideouts or camps” after their forces conducted operations in areas identified by their counterparts.
Talking about Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), Ahmed said his country was “very concerned” about the issue.
These notes were being prepared outside Bangladesh and routed through its territory, he said.
“It is not only affecting Indian economy but also ours,” he added.