Dhaka to allow pending border fencing 

Delhi iterates assurance of using non-lethal bullets along border

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:27, Feb 28,2021 | Updated: 00:28, Feb 28,2021


The government has primarily agreed to allow India early completion of the pending fencing along the borders of the two countries, Bangladesh officials said after a meeting between the two sides on Saturday.

India has, once again, iterated its assurance that the Border Security Force would use non-lethal ammunitions for avoiding deaths of people along the Bangladesh border.

Home ministry senior secretary Mostafa Kamal Uddin and Indian home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla led their respective sides in the talks held virtually.

There was a fruitful discussion on bringing down border killing to zero, Mostafa told reporters at the home ministry after the talks.

‘The Indian home ministry assured us that they would use non-lethal bullets at the earliest, so that people do not die [in incidents along the border],’ he said. 

The two sides also discussed about the Indian plan on fencing the border with Bangladesh and the Bangladesh side agreed to allow early completion of the pending fencing, government officials said.

The decision on the border proceeded in line with the consent by the prime ministers of the two countries, according to a press release issued by the Indian side.

Both sides reaffirmed not to allow the territory of either country to be used for any activity inimical to each other’s interests, it said.

Both sides agreed to further enhance the level of cooperation to prevent the smuggling of fake

Indian currency notes and contraband items, said the release.

The two sides also reviewed the functioning of coordinated management plan to control the illegal cross border activities, it said.

They discussed about cooperation between the countries on action taken to address the menace of terrorism and extremism in an effective manner as the Bangladesh side again raised the issue about presence of insurgent activities in Chattogram Hill Tracts region by criminals with shelters in Indian bordering areas, according to officials.

India took note of Bangladesh’s points on the matter. 

Indian high commissioner in Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami stated, in a tweet, that it was a ‘very good meeting’. 

The meeting was held to set grounds on border management and security issues for two high level meetings set to be held in Dhaka at the levels of foreign ministers on March 4 and prime ministers on March 27.

Killing of Bangladeshis along the borders with India has continued unabated in spite of formal assurance by successive Indian prime ministers, including Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi, on using non-lethal weapons over a decade since 2010.

At least 48 Bangladeshis were killed, 22 abducted and 26 injured by the BSF in 2020, according to Ain o Salish Kendra, an NGO.

At least 1,185 Bangladeshis were killed along the border by the BSF between 2000 and 2019, according to data shared by another NGO, Odhikar.

Bangladesh shares 4,156-kilometre-long border with five Indian states.

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