Guwahati, Monday, August 03, 2009
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Indo-Bangla joint plan on Border management likely
R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, Aug 2 With the improvement of relations between India and Bangladesh after the Awami League Government assumed power in the neighbouring country, border management is likely to witness improvement and the border guarding forces of both the countries are likely to chalk out a joint border management plan shortly. Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the decision to chalk out a joint border management plan was taken at recent meeting of senior officials of the Border Security Force (BSF) and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR). Sources pointed out that if a proper joint border management plan can be chalked out, the situation along the international border would improve considerably and this would also lead to sharing of intelligence between the border guarding forces and restrict the movement of anti-national elements.

Sources revealed that the BSF and the BDR are also likely to start joint patrolling of the vulnerable stretches of the international border. It is now a well established fact that a number of insurgent groups of India have their bases in Bangladesh and they always try to cross over to India to indulge in acts of violence. At present, the international border in Tura sector of Meghalaya is considered one of the most vulnerable because of the rough terrain. If the joint border management plan and joint patrolling by the BSF and BDR becomes a reality, the movement of militants can be checked to a great extent, sources added. Sources further said that if the BSF comes across any intelligence input about possibility of movement of militants, both BSF and BDR can intensify joint patrolling to keep a close watch on the possible routes of the militants to prevent their movement.

At present, the relations between the BSF and BDR are cordial and regular flag meetings between the company commanders of both the forces are held at least once a month. However, there is need for solving the problem of adverse possessions through bilateral talks, sources admitted.

It may be mentioned here that a joint working group comprising senior officials of India and Bangladesh has been formed to clear the hurdles in the way of construction of border fencing. As per an agreement between India and Bangladesh, the border fencing should be constructed 150 yards within Indian territory, but that cannot be done in certain places because of the terrain and other historic reasons. The members of the joint working group are likely to visit those areas in an attempt to settle the problems.

The BSF, on its own, has stepped up vigil along the international border to prevent militants from sneaking into India from Bangladesh before the Independence Day celebrations. Sources revealed that the company commanders of the BSF would camp on the border in the run up to the Independence Day to ensure better vigil. If the senior officers camp near the international border, the troops on the ground would become more alert. The personnel posted at the company headquarters would also be deployed along the border in the run-up to the Independence Day to increase the strength of the force, while, night vigil has been intensified as far as possible. Sharing of intelligence with police and other security agencies engaged in counter-insurgency operations has become a regular feature, sources added.

Meanwhile, sources revealed that though top leaders of different militant groups are still taking shelter in Bangladesh, they have started feeling the heat after the Awami League Government came to power. The insurgent groups still have their bases in Bangladesh, but they are forced to shift their bases frequently and it is reported that the leaders of the militant groups have started looking for other countries to shift their bases. Myanmar is the likely destination for a number of leaders of the militant groups, while, Nepal can become a new destination. It is now an established fact that the Chief of the DHD (J), Jewel Garlosa was in Nepal for some time and the commander in chief of the outfit, Niranjan Hojai is still believed to be in Nepal. The possibility of the leaders of the other insurgent groups shifting bases to Nepal cannot be ruled out, sources added. There were also reports that some members of the anti-talk faction of the NDFB managed to re-establish bases in Bhutan, but the Government of that country denied the reports, sources pointed out.