Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on Saturday expressed its deep commitment to taking extra precautionary measures to bring down border killings to zero.
Director General of the BSF, Rakesh Asthana, emerging from the just-ended BSF-BGB talks, gave the assurance while addressing a press conference at the BGB headquarters.
During the talks, BGB made it clear that there is no camp of any Indian insurgent group in Bangladesh.
It also told the BSF that Bangladesh government would not allow India to construct the newly-designed single row fence on the border.
During the talks, the BSF praised the cooperation of BGB and other security forces of Bangladesh against Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) and sought further cooperation from BGB for destruction of reported hideouts of IIGs in Bangladesh.
In response, the BGB's DG assured that there is no IIGs camp or hideout inside Bangladesh.
He further mentioned that Bangladesh does not allow her soil to be used by any entity or element hostile to any country, particularly India, and assured them of providing all possible help in this regard, the record of the meeting said.
During the talks, the issue of the construction of newly designed single row fence by India within 150 yards of the international border (IB) was raised but BGB's DG pointed out that Bangladesh government had already urged India not to construct this fence.
Terming the killings of unarmed people on the border ‘very unfortunate’ BSF’s DG Rakesh Asthana said the killing of civilians on the border by no means is justifiable and the BSF has been given strict instructions that lethal arms not be used against civilians on the border.
The BSF's DG mentioned that the BSF personnel were instructed not to use lethal weapons unless it emerges as the last resort.
They were ordered to use weapons – when it becomes inevitable — as a last resort and they must aim at below the belt to avoid fatality, he explained.
He lamented that sometimes that order could not be maintained when incidents took place at the dead end of the night. Zero visibility and bad weather often posed a problem in this regard.
But Mr Rakesh assured that every incident of opening fire at a civilian is properly investigated by BSF authorities to see whether the firing has been the last resort or not.
Responding to a question, he said that drug trafficking has emerged as a major problem and they have discussed the ways and means to address the issue during the talks.
BGB's DG Major General Md Shafeenul Islam said that BGB is satisfied with the commitment expressed by his counterpart - the BSF's DG.
Responding to a question about illegal infiltration of smugglers to India from Bangladesh, which, as alleged by the Indian authorities, is the outcome of the failure of the BGB, he said that sometimes due to a difficult terrain and porous border, it becomes tough to stop such infiltration totally.
But things are improving and both sides have started taking steps to strengthen the monitoring system through joint patrolling, he added.
Disclosing the Joint Record of Discussions (JRD), BGB officials said during the talks both sides have agreed to take extra precautionary measures along the border to bring down the incidents of killing, injuring and beating unarmed nationals of both countries to zero.
Both sides plan to achieve this goal by increasing coordinated patrols including intensifying public awareness programmes, undertaking appropriate socio-economic developmental programmes in vulnerable areas, they add.
According to the meeting record, both sides have agreed to undertake joint efforts to bring down the number of incidents of assaults or attacks to zero by increasing coordinated patrols in vulnerable areas and educating the border population about the sanctity of IB and preventing criminals from crossing it.
During the talks, the issue of construction of newly designed single row fence by India within 150 yards of the IB was raised but the BGB's DG pointed out that Bangladesh government had already urged India not to construct this fence.
Highlighting the importance of Coordinated Border Management Plan(CBMP) in curbing the menace of trans-border crimes, smuggling of various types of drugs and narcotics specially yaba, firearms, contraband items, cattle/FICN/gold, both sides agreed that they should pursue and share real time information, which will be beneficial for both the border guarding forces.
On preventing human trafficking, both sides were also at one about taking effective steps for prevention of human trafficking and illegal crossing of IB.
Both the DGs also agreed to aid victims of human trafficking and to facilitate their rescue and rehabilitation as soon as possible as per the law of the land.
Both the sides mutually decided not to undertake any development work within 150 yards of IB without prior information.
BGB and BSF also agreed to share real-time information to each other regarding smuggling of Drugs and Narcotics, human trafficking, FICN, Cattle, arms/ammunition/explosives, information related to anti-social elements, activities of IIGs, breaching/damaging of IBB fence and curbing border crimes.
Both of them appreciated the efforts made to improve mutual relations through various agreed upon Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).
It was decided that the next DG-level conference will be held at Guwahati, India, preferably within the second week of November 2020.
A six-member BSF delegation on Wednesday arrived in Dhaka to attend the 50th Border Conference between BGB and BSF.
BGB's DG Major General Md Shafeenul Islam led a 13-member delegation during the talks.