First India-Bangladesh border talks under Modi 2.0 govt next week

Officials will discuss cross-border crimes, smuggling of drugs and attacks on security personnel. Representative purpose only. Photo: PTI

The border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh will discuss several issues, including those related to cross-border crimes, as their director generals meet in Dhaka for the first biannual talks after the Modi government was reelected, officials said Saturday (May 8).

This will be the 48th DG-level conference between the two sides since 1975 and it will begin in the Bangladesh capital next week. Border Security Force (BSF) chief R K Mishra will lead a 10-member delegation to the neighbouring country for a five-day visit starting from June 11.

The delegation will have officials from the union home ministry, which is the controlling authority of the BSF, and anti-narcotics agencies, and a diplomat from the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

Talks with the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) will be held at their headquarters in Pilkhana in Dhaka, the officials said.

“India will take up issues like BSF personnel being attacked by Bangladeshi criminals in border areas and those related to cross-frontier smuggling during the traditional bi-annual meeting between the two sides between June 11 and June 15,” officials told PTI.

“A 19-member BGB delegation, led by Director General (DG) Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam, will also be briefed about the frequent instances of smuggling of fake Indian currency notes, variety of narcotics, cattle and other related crimes, the officials said,” they added.

“The last time the two forces met for the DG-level talks was in Delhi in September. Issues like measures undertaken to prevent attacks against BSF personnel, joint efforts to prevent trans-border crimes, action against Indian insurgent groups (operating from the other side) are part of the agenda for the DG-level talks,” the officials said.

Subjects related to border infrastructure, simultaneous coordinated patrol in vulnerable areas of the border and mutual sharing of information would also be part of the discussions, they said.

Relations between the two sides are very good and it is expected that new dimensions will be added to this relationship to effectively guard the 4,096-km frontier shared by the two countries, the officials said.

The two sides are also likely to share updates about movement of Rohingyas along the India-Bangladesh border and prepare confidence building measures to quickly resolve issues like the standoff in January along the international border in Tripura regarding movement of these migrants.

The BGB is expected to take up issues like smuggling of various types of drugs from India to Bangladesh and arrest or apprehend Bangladeshi nationals by BSF, a senior official in the security establishment said.

A joint record of discussion will be signed between the two forces at the end of the talks, he added. The two sides travel to either side of the border once in an year for these talks and this will be their first high-level meet after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn-in for a second term last month.