29 people have been killed so far this year along the Bangladesh-India border
The issue of killings on the border is likely to dominate the talks between Bangladeshi and Indian border guards as the chiefs of the two paramilitary forces set for a six-day meeting from September 13 in Dhaka, officials said.
“Border killing is an important issue for us,” a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) official told BSS, adding that until August this year, 33 Bangladeshis were killed along Bangladesh-India frontiers.
BGB’s Operations Director Lieutenant Colonel Fayzur Rahman said Bangladesh always laid high importance to violence on the borders as after any incident of killing on borders “we start talks at all levels”.
He said protests are lodged at flag meetings with the Boarder Security Force (BSF) at the camp level on the frontiers, while the issue is raised up to the foreign ministry for diplomatic initiatives to stop the phenomenon.
According to rights group Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), 15 people were killed along the Bangladesh-India border in 2018, the number rose to 43 last year. In the first seven months of this year, 29 people were killed.
BGB Director General Major General M Shafeenul Islam and his newly appointed counterpart, BSF’s Rakesh Asthana, will lead the talks on two sides at BGB’s Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka.
BGB operations director said cross border smuggling, particularly drug smuggling, construction of different structures like barbed wire fencing and other installations are the others issues to be discussed in the meeting.
He, however, described the meeting to be a routine one when the two sides would also discuss ways to improve relations between the two border forces, alongside others issues of mutual interest.
Reports from New Delhi suggest, cattle smuggling, fake currency business, and human trafficking are likely to be major issues of the BSF side in the talks.
Indian Home Ministry sources said alongside the BSF sector commanders, officials of India’s Narcotics Control Bureau and representatives of Their External Affairs Ministry, and other agencies concerned would accompany Asthana in Dhaka.
Officials in both the capitals said the BGB and BSF chiefs are likely to sign a joint record of discussion at the end of the talks, the 50th at the level of director generals since 1975.
The DG-level talks between BGB and BSF was first held in 1975, while the talks are generally held twice a year, once in Dhaka and once in Delhi for management of porous 4,096 km long frontiers.
The talks are set to be held days ahead of planned foreign minister-level Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting using virtual media to be hosted by Dhaka later this month.