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India, Bangladesh to hold DG-level border talks in Dhaka next month, discuss security issues

BSF DG Rakesh Asthana will lead a delegation that will have representatives from the Narcotics Control Bureau, External Affairs Ministry & other govt agencies.

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New Delhi: India and Bangladesh will hold “important” Director General-level border talks in Dhaka next month to discuss a host of issues related to crimes on the front and other security challenges, officials said on Tuesday.

The biannual talks will be held between the Border Security Force (BSF) and their counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) from September 13-18 at Pilkhana, the headquarters of the Bangladeshi force in Dhaka.

Newly appointed BSF DG Rakesh Asthana will lead a dozen officers strong Indian delegation that will have representatives from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the external affairs ministry and other government agencies.

The Bangladeshi side will be led by BGB DG Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam.

“The last time the two sides met was in December in Delhi. The next round of meeting in September is going to be important as a number of bilateral issues along the 4,096 km long front will be discussed and new protocols will be firmed up,” a senior officer told PTI.

The relations between the two sides are very good and at an all-time high and both the sides are expected to take it forward, he said.

While the Indian side is expected to take up the issue of joint border security management, fencing of unfenced areas and undertaking effective steps to curb cross-border crimes, the Bangladeshi border force is expected to take up issues related to killing of its people along the front.

New methods of enhancing cooperation and sharing of information while countering issues related to border criminals and illegal crossers are expected to be framed, the officer said.

This is going to be the 50th round of DG-level talks between the two border guarding forces and a host of confidence building measures (CBM) to enhance cooperation between the two sides will be discussed and formalised after the signing of a joint record of discussion at the end of the talks, the officer said.

The new paradigm of border management in the time of COVID-19 pandemic spread will also be charted during the talks where it is also expected that the Indian side will call on the top leadership of the Bangladesh government, he added.

Issues like preparing better mechanisms to stop attacks and assault on BSF troops and Indian civilians by criminals of both the countries are also expected to be taken up, another officer in the security establishment said.

Some other regular issues like cattle smuggling, smuggling of fake Indian currency notes, illegal migration and human trafficking, breaching or damage of the international border fence, action against Indian insurgent groups operating from the other side and illegal crossing by nationals of countries other than Bangladesh will also be taken up, the second officer said.

The border guards DG-level talks between the two countries began in 1975 and they are held bianually, once in Delhi and once in Dhaka, post 1993.

Early this month, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had visited Bangladesh and held talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Masud Bin Momen, a day after meeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Also read:Here’s what China is doing in Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan. It doesn’t look good for India


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