Joint Press Statement on 44th Border Co-Ordination Conference Between Director Generals of BSF & BGB Held at Dhaka
BSF-BGB Meeting at Dhaka
NationalDefence Bureau, New Delhi, 21 February 2017
K K Sharma, IPS, DG BSF led 19 member Indian delegation to Dhaka to jointly chair the 44th Border Conference between BSF and BGB from 18th to 22nd February 2017. Major General Abul Hossain, ndc, psc, DG BGB led the 26 Member Bangladeshi delegation. The two delegations were comprised of senior officials from both the forces, concerned Ministries of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Department of Narcotics Control of both the countries, Indian High Commission in Dhaka as well as Joint River Commission, Department of Land Record & Survey of Bangladesh and officials from Prime Minister’s Office of Bangladesh.
2. The summary of the decisions taken during the discussion are appended below:-
(a) DG BGB expressed grave concern on the incidents of firing and killing of Bangladeshi nationals and emphasized the need for bringing the death toll to zero through exercising extreme caution by BSF and sensitizing Indian nationals. Highlighting the fact that though the non-lethal strategy has proved extremely successful in reducing deaths in the border, DG BSF stated that it has also resulted in an alarming increase in incidents of attacks by the criminals on BSF personnel. He further stated that BSF personnel fire with non-lethal weapon only in self-defense. DG BSF sought cooperation of BGB in stopping Bangladeshi nationals from crossing the IB. Joint efforts by BGB and BSF will be undertaken to bring down the killing incidence to zero by increasing coordinated patrols in areas vulnerable to cattle and drug smuggling, educating border population about the sanctity of IB and preventing criminals from crossing the IB. Both sides agreed to conduct joint spot verification and appraisal on major incident/ killing in the bordering areas of Bangladesh and India which will go a long way to reduce the differences of opinion or understanding regarding any major incidents.
(b) DG BSF sought further cooperation from BGB for destruction of reported hideouts of Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) in Bangladesh and safe release of Indian Nationals whenever abducted by IIGs. DG BGB stated that there are no IIGs camp/ hideout inside Bangladesh. DG BGB further mentioned that Bangladesh does not allow her soil to be used by any entity or element hostile to any country which stems from the principle position of the highest leadership of the country.
(c) DG BGB expressed gratitude to Government of India and BSF for approving plans to use Indian border roads for constructing new BGB BOPs in remote areas of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Both sides also agreed to render first aid medical support to each other’s troops deployed in the remote areas.
(d) Highlighting the importance of Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) in curbing the menace of trans-border crimes like smuggling of arms, ammunition, explosives, drugs and narcotics including Yaba (Amphetamine), Fake Currency Notes, Gold and Cattle; breaching of IBB fence, dacoities, theft, abductions etc; both sides agreed to implement CBMP in letter and spirit.
(e) Both sides agreed to take effective steps to prevent human trafficking and illegal crossing. Both the delegation agreed to enhance joint capacity building of personnel from either side, sharing of information regarding organized criminal activities, increased surveillance in areas vulnerable to crimes of the border. In this regard, mapping of vulnerable areas to trans-border criminal activities will be updated as and when required and before each DG level talk.
(f) DG BSF mentioned that, construction of the Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) inside India at Agartala and related drainage with box culvert at Akhaura inside Bangladesh territory will start soon which will reduce the environmental hazard in the affected area. At the same time, it will become a place for tourist attraction and joint retreat ceremony.
(g) DG BSF requested to expedite verification of nationality for early repatriation of BD nationals found staying in Indian Jails/ Correction homes. DG BSF requested to send correct names, addresses and other information of victims, so that concerned authority can verify their nationality to ensure early repatriation.
DG BSF and DG BGB in Bangladesh
3. DG BSF informed the house that, Indian Government has authorized BSF for repair and maintenance of border pillars except in the state of Meghalaya. Both sides agreed to formulate common modalities for repair and maintenance of border pillars.
4. Both the DGs decided to approach their concerned ministries to increase the number of ‘border haats’ and promote ‘border tourism’ which will help improving socio-economic condition of the bordering people.
5. DG BSF informed that, they will facilitate in setting up of a Dog Training School or required facilities for BGB.
6. After detailed discussion, Confidence Building Measures like joint training, joint exercise, adventure training like; kayaking, rafting, cycling, rowing, mountain climbing etc, joint band display with cultural program; exchange visits like; BWWA/ SHIPKS, school children, media; shooting competition, joint retreat ceremony etc. will be conducted by both the forces. BSF will send male and female instructors for training of troops of BGB. BSF will also sponsor scholarships for selected brilliant children of BGB members in Indian Medical and Engineering colleges.
7. Both DGs expressed their satisfaction over the outcome of the conference. They reiterated their commitments to work jointly for maintaining peace, tranquility and security at the border. Both sides agreed to hold the next DG level conference at New Delhi in 1st week of October 2017.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.