Bangladesh and India yesterday entered a comprehensive border management deal to strengthen border security and combat smuggling of illegal drugs and weapons and trafficking of women and children.

Director General of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Maj Gen Anwar Hussain and DG of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Raman Srivastava inked the Border Management Coordinated Plan at the secretariat after the conclusion of official talks between Home Minister Shahara Khatun and her Indian counterpart Palaniappan Chidambaram.

According to the accord, members of BGB and BSF will patrol specific border points on their respective sides in a coordinated way.

If any untoward incident occurs at any point of the border, the two forces will sit immediately to settle the problem. They will remain alert to ensure terrorists cannot operate from either side of the borders, mentioned the deal.

A high official of the home ministry said Bangladesh will hand over a list of vulnerable border points being used for criminal activities.

Smuggling of arms, ammunition, explosives, narcotics and illegal drugs is a serious concern for both the countries, added the official.

The two neighbours share over 4,000-kilometre long border, of which about 700 km mainly along rivers and other adverse points are without fencing.

During bilateral talks, State Minister for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku expressed deep concern over killing of innocent Bangladeshis by BSF, trafficking of women and children and smuggling of phensedyl from India to Bangladesh, a meeting source said quoting Tuku.

He urged India to make a serious attempt at stopping women and children trafficking.

A huge quantity of phensedyl enters Bangladesh through the border as there are some phensedyl-producing factories near the border, pointed out Tuku.

The state minister, however, thanked the Indian government for closing some of the illegal drug-producing units.

About 400 women and children in Bangladesh fall victim to both national and international traffickers each month, SK Murthy, country director of UNDP, told a programme on July 19 at a city hotel quoting a Unicef report.

Around 3 lakh Bangladeshi women and children had been trafficked to India while another 2 lakh were sold in Pakistan in the last 10 years, he added.

Source: Daily Star – 31.07.2011