• Thursday, Nov 14, 2019
  • Last Update : 09:01 am

India home minister pledges to seal Bangladesh border with ‘laser walls’

  • Published at 11:26 pm February 2nd, 2019
web-indian-home-minister-rajnath-singh-reuters-1531399328129.jpg
File photo of Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh Reuters

On Saturday, Rajnath said the central government will fund the entire Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) to prevent Bangladeshis from entering India illegally

In classic Trumpian fashion, Indian Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh pandered to a rally about setting up a “virtual” wall to reinforce the physical fences across the Bangladesh-India border.

On Saturday, Rajnath said the central government will fund the entire Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) to prevent Bangladeshis from entering India illegally.

The Indian home minister said the barrier will reduce violence in West Bengal, claiming the state is witnessing record numbers of violence.

He said: “Maximum violence takes place in West Bengal as per records. None of the 'Ma, Mati and Manus' (mother, land and people) are safe under their rule. Nearly 100 BJP workers have been killed in the state and none of those involved will be spared.”

While the minister expresses concerns over illegal Bangladeshi entries into India, it should be noted that legal passage to India is unequivocally the most from Bangladesh. Several surveys have confirmed that the majority of tourists to India are from Bangladesh. Another survey has identified Bangladeshis as the largest demographic group to visit India for medical treatment. The significance of legal Bangladeshi migration to India is underscored by India building their largest visa center in Dhaka.

The border system referred to is a trusted talking point for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party before the elections, that seems heavily inspired by US President Donald Trump’s vocal demand for a border wall with Mexico which won him the 2016 elections and the US presidency.  Earlier, in May 2018, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal elaborated the Center-funded wall, saying it would involve laser grids, motion sensors, and cameras to track movement over a vast swathe of the border. The state had set up the laser walls on a 55km stretch of the border in Dhubri, Assam along the Brahmaputra River by April 2018. The laser grid has also been erected in parts of the Indian border with Pakistan.

The Indian Border Security Force has been issued night vision goggles, advanced sensory instruments, and floodlights to improve their vigilance on the border.

The India-Bangladesh border is frequently subject to criticism for reckless use of violence on the part of the BSF – notorious for gunning down shepherds, farmers, traders, and even teenage girls – with little to no punitive measures against the perpetrators. It is also a hot topic as the porous border – largely due to sharing rivers – are also used to smuggle drugs like yaba and phensedyl from India into Bangladesh.