Trans-border crime among 6 key issues in BSF-BGB DG-level talks

Asthana had said that death or apprehension of criminals on the border was “irrespective of nationalities”.
Border Security Force (BSF)

New Delhi: Border related issues, better coordination and streamlining of mechanisms on how to jointly curb various trans-border crimes are six key issues in the upcoming Director General (DG) level border coordination conference between Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

Both the border guarding forces will also discuss timely sharing of information with each other during the five-day talks organised from December 22 to 26.

The 51st DG-level talks being organised in Guwahati, will also mention developmental and infrastructure works, joint efforts for effective implementation of Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) and Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

While the Indian side is also expected to take up joint border security management and fencing of unfenced areas, the Bangladeshi border force is expected to take up issues related to the killing of its people along the front.

A joint record of discussions of the meetings will be forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs after the talks.

India and Bangladesh share 4,096 km international border, the fifth-longest land border in the world, including 263 km in Assam, 856 km in Tripura, 318 km in Mizoram, 443 km in Meghalaya, and 2,216.7 km in West Bengal.

Border crimes like smuggling counterfeit currency and drugs, animal and human trafficking are among various issues on which both BSF and the BGB always keep focus to resolve the illegal trade.

During this conference, the Indian delegation will be led by BSF Director General Rakesh Asthana with the Bangladesh delegation headed by Major General Md Shafeenul Islam, Director General (BGB).

The last BSF-BGB border Coordination Conference was held from September 16 to 19 this year at Dhaka.

This is the first time since these biannual talks began in 1993 that they are being held outside Delhi.

The meeting being held near the border may give an opportunity for the brass of the two sides to jointly visit some border areas in Assam, said sources, explaining the reason behind moving the talks outside Delhi.

Assam’s capital is the base for BSF’s Guwahati frontier headquarters where the talks are being organised. A special BSF water wing that keeps vigil along the riverine border areas including Dhubri in Assam is under the command of this frontier of the border force.

The DG-level talks were held annually between 1975 and 1992 but they were made biannual in 1993 with either side alternatively travelling to the national capitals of New Delhi and Dhaka.

A delegation led by BSF Director General Rakesh Asthana had visited Dhaka for these talks in September.

The current relations between the two countries and the forces are very good and both sides will take them forward during the upcoming talks.

During the last meeting, Asthana had said the killing of criminals along the front will be “made to reduce significantly” even as he reiterated that his troops only fire when their lives are endangered by cross-border miscreants.

Asthana had said that death or apprehension of criminals on the border was “irrespective of nationalities”.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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