by Our Correspondent in Dhaka,
A three-day meeting of heads of Bangladesh and India border guards ended in Dhaka on Saturday with a pledge by the visitors to use “non-lethal weapons” in tackling border crimes and exchange real-time intelligence.
Bangladesh Border Guards (BGB) has repeatedly protested the killings on the border of its nationals by the Border Security Force (BSF) which is among the top of the reasons behind growing anti-India sentiments in this South Asian country.
“BSF, in response to the concerns expressed by BGB on border deaths, reiterated its policy of use of non-lethal weapons on the India-Bangladesh border and assured that all unarmed and innocent trespassers and victims of human trafficking will be handed over to the BGB personnel,” according to a statement by the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
It added that “BSF has launched a systematic campaign against the smuggling of “codein” based cough syrup in the bordering districts of India and will redouble efforts to reduce the cross border drugs and narcotics smuggling. The BGB appreciated the ongoing concerted efforts of BSF in substantially reducing the smuggling of narcotics.”
Both BGB and BSF will exchange “real-time intelligence” in dealing with increasing “violent attacks on them by cross border cattle smuggling gangs” to ensure a “peaceful and secure” border for which the guests proposed the launching of joint operations.
The border meeting came at a time when the two “friendly” countries are faced with a dip in bilateral ties, which faced another challenge when Dhaka protested the sudden ban on exports of Indian onion.
New Delhi has taken urgent steps to address the issue and the situation has eased.
A six-member BSF delegation was headed by its Director General Rakesh Asthana, while the 13-member BGB team was led by Director General, Major |General Md. Shafeenul Islam. The two sides also agreed to “strengthen their security perceptions” and issuing daily passes for the people residing in the bordering villages so that they can visit their relatives on the Indian side.