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India completes fencing three-fourths of border

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 01:18, Sep 23,2020

 
 

The Indian government has completed the construction of over 3,120 kilometres of barbed-wire fences covering more than three-fourths of the total international border with Bangladesh.

Barbed-wire fences have so far been erected along over 3,120 kilometres of India’s 4,096.70-kilometre-long international border with Bangladesh, Indian state minister for home affairs Nityanand Rai said in the parliament of the country on Sunday.

He was replying to a question from Abdul Khaleque, a parliament member from Assam, according to documents presented in the Indian parliament in this regard. New Age has obtained copies of the documents.  

Over 1,638 kilometres of the 2,216.70-kilometre-long border on Bangladesh’s western side, which is adjacent to West Bengal of India, have already been covered by barbed wire, according to the reply presented in a question in the parliament.

Barbed-wire fences have also been raised along over 210 kilometres of the 263-kilometre border with the Indian state of Assam, along some 326 kilometres of the 443 kilometres with Meghgalaya, along over 155 kilometres of the 318 kilometres with Mizoram, and along over 791 kilometres of the 856 kilometres with Tripura.

Some 976.7 kilometres bordering patches are yet to be covered by the fence due to difficult terrain, land acquisition problems, public protests and objections by the Border Guard Bangladesh, it was mentioned in the reply.

The  Indo-Bangladesh riverine border  is  taken care of  through floating  border  outposts, boat and  foot patrolling  along  river banks during  day  and  night  and  by  conducting  special  operations  together with  state  police as and when required.

Floodlights have been installed along the fenced borders, including at gaps created by small rivers and canals.

The Indian Border  Security  Force  conducts  regular  patrolling,  lay  traps,  establish observation  posts  and  carry  out  anti-tunnelling  exercise  to  stop  illegal  migrants along the border, according to the reply.

However, some illegal migrants are able to enter India in a clandestine manner,  mainly  due  to  difficult  riverine  terrain  in  parts  of the  International  border with  Bangladesh  which  are  not  amenable  to  physical  fencing, it said. 

Asked about Bangladesh’s perspective on the construction of the fence along the border, the country’s high commissioner to India Muhammad Imran refrained from saying anything in reply.

The two countries discussed, at the director general-level conference of the border forces of the two countries on September 16-19, the construction of border fences, according to press releases issued by both sides.

The Indian side reiterated in the meeting, among other issues, its request for the construction of single-row meshed steel fence at dozens of places within 150 yards of the border with Bangladesh.

The BSF was told, in the meeting, that the Bangladesh government communicated its unwillingness to accept the proposal for the construction of meshed fence within 150 yards of the border between the two countries.

The Indian government has already erected barbed-wire fences within 150 yards in at least 50 places along the border in last 10 years, the government officials earlier pointed out.

The Bangladesh government has agreed, in 2009, to allow border fencing within 150 yards from the zero line between the two countries provided it is necessitated by humanitarian concerns and geographical realities.

But India has now launched attempts for the blanket use of this ‘consent’ from Bangladesh, officials said.

Myanmar, the other neighbour of Bangladesh, erected barbed-wire fences beyond 150 metres in patches extending several kilometres of the 271-kilometre-long border between the two countries.

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